Manteca Unified in the next five years could use Measure G bond money to build a replacement campus for Calla High — an alternative secondary school — on 40 acres along Tinnin Road south of Woodward Avenue that the district owns for the next comprehensive high school.
It presents an opportunity for the City of Manteca to possibly secure a municipal library branch south of the 120 Bypass.
But before that can happen two key elected bodies that talk a good game of seeking joint ventures to stretch tax dollars and maximize their benefits — the Manteca City Council and Manteca Unified School Board — would have to step up to the plate.
More than a decade ago the two elected bodies working through “2x2 meetings” — a gathering of two trustees and two council members — hammered out the groundwork that led to their funding joint-use gyms at Golden West, Sequoia, Shasta and Stella Brockman schools. They also worked on other issues including fees the district charged city recreation programs for using campus facilities and fees the city charged the schools for using municipal fields. Other issues were explored such as joint purchasing and possibly creating a combination corporation yard but after discussions they were not considered beneficial at the time.
Manteca Unified Deputy Superintendent Clark Burke has said relocating Calla High to the Tinnin Road site is an option that is being explored. Burke has emphasized, though, that the district is far from making a decision on what it will do with Calla High.
Not only may modernizing and making safety improvements to the aging Calla campus not be an efficient expenditure of bond money but there is an issue of the appropriateness of the school’s location.
It is located on the southeast corner of East Highway 120 and Austin Road where traffic — including numerous trucks — whizzes by at 45 mph just feet from classrooms. Students who do walk to the campus travel down the busy East Yosemite Avenue corridor.
The current Calla High site also is along Austin Road that — in 20-year planning scenarios the city has advanced — could ultimately be four lanes south from East Highway 120 to the Highway 99 interchange.
While increased traffic would have a detrimental impact on the campus, it would enhance its value as a future commercial site giving the district the opportunity to sell it at some point down the road if it relocates Calla High and use the proceeds to address other school facility needs.
Joint use library
New Vision High
Manteca Unified already has an alternative high school with a joint use library on the same parcel as a comprehensive high school. Weston Ranch High and New Vision High are on opposite sides on a parcel in that South Stockton neighborhood.
Manteca Unified and the City of Stockton partnered for a joint-use library at the New Vision High campus. The district built the library and provides the upkeep while Stockton staffs it and maintains the collection.
District Superintendent Jason Messer noted earlier this month that Stockton and district officials met to hammer out details over the use of computers when equipment was upgraded to make sure there are Internet filters in place when they are used by students during the school day.
The library is extensively used by the Weston Ranch community, New Vision students, and after school hours by neighborhood elementary school students as well as those from Weston Ranch.
The Tinnin Road location is a stone’s throw from two major new subdivisions underway in South Manteca. There are already three elementary schools in place nearby — Woodward, Veritas, and Nile Garden — with two more planned. Manteca expects the lion’s share of future growth to be south of the 120 Bypass with ultimately the majority of residents living in the southern part of the city.
Push in Manteca
for branch library
Manteca Library advocates — including Councilman Vince Hernandez — have been pushing for a branch library south of the 120 Bypass. They view the 120 Bypass as a major barrier that discourages young people and others from walking or bicycling to the library on Center Street in downtown Manteca.
One of the biggest challenges is where a branch library would go. One suggestion was possibly placing a site next to a future neighborhood park. Such a location would be a drawback as it wouldn’t be central and it would attract more day-to-day traffic to a neighborhood.
Woodward Park has been suggested. But for that to happen, other facilities envisioned in the park’s master plan would have to be eliminated or reduced such as the proposed tennis courts.
The Tinnin Road location is more toward the middle of existing neighborhoods and those coming on line.
Library advocates have said the Stockton-San Joaquin Library System has indicated the City of Manteca would have to pony up $500,000 a year to staff a branch library and address basic collection needs. That would be in addition to building the library and covering ongoing maintenance as well as electricity and other utilities.
The city built the existing library and maintains it while the library system operates it and covers the cost of the collection. Manteca does kick in some additional funding for additional hours as well as to augment the book purchasing budget. The arrangement is the same for all other San Joaquin County communities except the City of Lodi that maintains its own library system.
Messer said the district is open to any partnership with the city that “stretches limited tax dollars and delivers improved services.” The superintendent noted that the same taxpayers in Manteca are paying for schools and city facilities.
Messer said given the city’s fourth comprehensive high school is still a few years away, it is possible it could be designed to accommodate robust joint uses such as an aquatics center, theatre or even a small gym among others.
The city’s parks masterplan that is now being cobbled together identifies a need in the future for a city aquatics center that could cost millions of dollars. Based on current programming, cities tend to use their swimming pools and/or aquatic centers at different times of the year when schools don’t. A joint use aquatics center means taxpayers wouldn’t pay twice for duplicate facilities that wouldn’t have overlapping use dates.
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