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Sikh Temple moves forward with expansion

POSTED October 9, 2012 8:39 p.m.

Just more than a year after the opening of Turlock’s new Sikh Temple, temple leaders are already planning for expansion.

The Turlock Sikh Temple will add a 21,000 square-foot, two-story building, providing a new dining area, kitchen, meeting room, priest residence, and guest rooms.

The building, approved by the Turlock Planning Commission on Thursday, will feature styling similar to the existing temple. One unique, iconic feature planned is a second-story bridge, connecting the temple to the new building.

“I think the project looks great,” said Planning Commissioner Nick Hackler. “It definitely is going to be iconic in Turlock.”

Located on the currently vacant land just northwest of the existing temple at 1373 5th St., the new building will become the home of the Sikh Temple’s traditional pre-service meals for congregants. The building will not be used for public events.

“We are so proud that we can do something very unique for the community,” said Dr. Ram Sani, a Sikh community leader.

The expansion will also see a new, four-foot tall externally-lighted sign added to the site, providing much needed street side identification for the temple along Linwood Avenue. Currently, the temple has only a sign on the main building itself.

Work in the project is expected to start in seven to eight months.

It’s just the latest milestone for Turlock’s Sikh Temple and Sikh community, who have worked hard to become a more visible part of the community in the past two years. Followers of the religion have held outreach days, inviting local leaders to visit the temple, and even conducted a parade through the neighborhood. Parishioner Ganam Hayre said he believes the development has helped to stabilize the neighborhood, redeveloping a vacant lot.

According to Sikh community leader Sukmindar Deol, the temple’s rapid growth can be attributed directly to the residents who filled Turlock City Hall on Thursday in support of the development.

“We have a lot of people sitting here,” Deol said. “Everybody contributes. Everybody pitches in — financially, physically, emotionally — every which way."

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