Steve Anderson had a restless night anticipating that first day of school.
The fourth-year principal at Lincoln Elementary School had plenty on his mind on Thursday with the ongoing construction taking place on campus coupled with the new drop-off point for students taking place on Powers Avenue – rather than the familiar busy Yosemite Avenue – possibly creating a traffic nightmare.
Those worries were quickly put to rest.
“We got the word out to parents and encouraged them to walk to school today – about 80 percent did so,” said Anderson, who was pleased overall with that first day.
Lincoln is Manteca Unified’s oldest operational elementary school site and part of a modernization made possible by voter-approved Measure G.
Golden West, Sequoia, Shasta and Lathrop elementary schools are also being updated as part of the $159 million bond measure.
“We were able to get a lot of work done over the summer,” said Deputy Superintendent of Personnel and Operation Clark Burke. “These are long-term projects that usually take about six months to do.”
Anderson is hoping for the new multi-purpose building to be completed by December. The facility will be used a gym, cafeteria and administration office once completed.
His old office has been converted to a Special Day Class for seventh and eighth graders. The vice principal office is also a classroom accommodating middle school students.
Much of the interior of the school was repainted and floors and countertops have since been replaced.
Anderson noted that the colorful floor pattern in kindergarten classroom of teacher Michelle Cebreros was reminiscent of a giant “Twister” board game.
He had nearly 600 students on campus, with most sharing the same blacktop for now until the opening of the new playground equipment area.
At Golden West, Principal Sherie Gates welcomed back about 570 students.
Most understood the configuration of the campus that’s also going through a makeover of sort.
Construction there includes the building of a classroom / administration building at the front of the campus next to the existing multi-purpose room. Three new kindergarten classrooms are also being built.
“They know the routine around here,” Gates said of the maze of temporary fencing from the front of the school that point towards the main office.
Maps of the temporary configuration were distributed while leadership students also helped folks get around.
Youngsters, for now, used the old portable building – it will be converted to a music room once the cafeteria in the multi-purpose building reopens – for their lunch session.
Some of the younger students learned or were reacquainted with the term “quiet whisper voices” while eating their nachos or corn dogs.
With all that’s going on around campus, Gates was pleased with the first day back.
“It couldn’t have gone any better,” she said.