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Both high schools to see small-scale expansion
TUSD projects pic.jpg
The parking that can be found across the street from the Turlock Unified School District office on East Canal Drive will soon extend to the next block in front of Turlock High School. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/The Journal

New additions to both of the city’s high schools are in the beginning stages of development, with each campus preparing for projects that will increase their space.


Turlock High School will soon have more parking along East Canal Drive, while at Pitman High School, the recent acquisition by the district of property adjacent to campus will serve as an expansion project yet to be determined.


At the Feb. 19 TUSD Board of Trustees meeting, the Board authorized the solicitation of bids for off-site parking on East Canal, across the street from the current THS science building. The project would provide an additional 42 parking stalls in between North Berkeley Avenue and Wallace Street, and are intended to help alleviate traffic congestion expected when construction on the new THS science building begins in January 2020.


The new parking strip would mimic that which can be found in front of the TUSD District Office on East Canal, right down to the same lighting fixtures and similar trees.


According to TUSD Director of Maintenance and Operations Scott Richardson, the project will go out to bid next month with construction anticipated to begin in June, and completion in the fall.


“I think once construction starts it will be about a four-month job, so hopefully we’re well into this in June and wrapping it up in early fall so that we’re completed well in advance of the science building start,” Richardson said.


When the project was first introduced to the Board at a prior meeting, Trustees expressed a desire to see a lighted crosswalk included in the plans. Richardson said he has since met with City of Turlock engineers, and while TUSD will be responsible for covering the cost of such a crosswalk, the City will pay for lighting and other aspects of upkeep and operation.


Trustee Frank Lima expressed the importance of having well-lit walking pathways for students.


“In front of the district office we have primarily adults and district employees since it’s not so close to the classrooms, but I have a feeling that the other parking is going to be used by adults also, but a lot by students as well since it’s so close to their classroom,” Lima said. “I really appreciate you talking with the City and trying to make this crosswalk as safe as possible.”


PHS could also soon see new parking, as the Trustees on Feb. 19 ratified the purchase property near the school, located at 2818 W. Christoffersen Parkway.


“It’s not very often that you get the opportunity to purchase property close to one of our school sites, and this property is right next to Pitman High School so we’re very excited about it,” Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Mike Trainor said. “We’ve had discussions about potential uses for the property, but we have yet to actually have that materialize.”


The house and two-car garage currently sit on the 2.86-acre property, which is zoned Heavy Commercial and Light Industrial. Trainor said TUSD eventually plans to demolish the existing structures on the property, eventually constructing either additional support buildings or a new parking lot.


“I’m happy that we’re able to do this and that we have the funding for it,” Lima said. “It gives Pitman and the Pitman site an opportunity for more.”