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Construction continues at TUSD sites as school year begins
TUSD construction
Parking lot renovations at Dutcher Middle School have yet to be completed, resulting in alternate drop off/pick up and parking locations for staff, students and parents (ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal).

There’s been plenty of hustle and bustle on campuses throughout Turlock Unified School District this summer as major construction projects took place, from new athletic facilities to projects that increase school security. While many of these projects are either finished or close to completion, a select few will see work continue into the school year.

“The projects and work that has been completed over the summer is tremendous,” said TUSD Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Barney Gordon. “There have been kitchen upgrades, technology upgrades, fire alarm upgrades, security camera upgrades and many other projects that have not been as visible to the community as our fencing, building, playfield and parking lot renovations.”

As of Friday afternoon, there were still 12 active construction projects across five TUSD campuses ahead of the first day of school on Monday. Work to install security fencing and a single point of entry at both Brown and Cunningham elementary schools is approximately 90 percent complete, Gordon said, and at Cunningham will not disrupt the start of the school year.

At Brown, the delivery of a new office with a single point of entry has been delayed by the manufacturer and will not be in place by the start of the school year; however, the area for the new administration building is currently secured with temporary fencing. The delivery and installation of the building will be scheduled to have a minimal impact on school operations.

The District Office is also the recipient of new space, as new buildings for the On Track program were placed on Cooper Street, with finishing touches currently underway.

At Dutcher Middle School, the highly-visible parking lot renovations are still underway and will impact the drop off and pick up of students before and after school. Despite the fact that the lot has not yet been repaved, plenty of other work has been completed on the campus, Gordon said.

“The amount of work that has been done at Dutcher Middle School is daunting and there has been a lot of early morning, late night and weekend work to be ready for school on Monday,” he said, adding that in order to prepare for the arrival of students come Monday, crews will be on the campus Saturday washing down sidewalks and conducting final safety checks. “From the street it looks like there has been no progress, but in fact there has been a tremendous amount of underground work completed to replace aging sewer lines, water lines, storm drains and other utilities.”

Access to campus for the start of the school year will be identical to the end of the last school year, Gordon explained, with a round-about drop-off area accessible from eastbound Hawkeye Avenue on the basketball courts north of the gym, and a vehicle parking lot off Pioneer Avenue on the southern-most basketball courts.

In addition to the complete renovation of the school’s parking lot, other improvements include those to the restrooms on the east side of campus (80 percent complete), replacement of sidewalks and pathways on the interior of the campus (complete), security fencing and a single point of entry (80 percent complete), improvements to the quad area (construction still in progress) and renovations of the school’s food service area.

The restrooms on the east side of the Dutcher campus will be inaccessible until early September, while the quad area is expected to be off-limits to students until late September. All food serving lines will be unchanged from last year, with the cafeteria still fully operational and accessible by two doors on the west end. The third door on the north end will be accessible by the second week of school and with the quad area inaccessible, picnic tables have been set up near the school garden for students who want to eat outdoors. A new food service area is also being added and will be available shortly after the start of the school year.

TUSD’s two high schools still have work ongoing as well. Roofing and upgrades to the school’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system at Turlock High School are 90 percent complete and will be fully-functional at the start of the school year. Also at THS, work on parking stalls and a high-visibility crosswalk along Canal Drive will continue during the school year, but occasional lane closures will be coordinated to have minimal impact on school operations and associated traffic.

While planned playfield renovations — two new softball fields, a new practice soccer field, an artificial turf playing field and synthetic track — and improvements to the snack bar between the cafeteria and gym at Pitman High School are complete, work on a new culinary arts facility has just begun and will continue throughout the school year with minimal impact expected. A new entry via the front office is complete and security fencing is about 95 percent installed.

Once the mentioned fencing projects are complete, the only campuses that will still need security fencing installed are eCademy, Julien, THS, Turlock Junior High School and Roselawn, Gordon said. Sites with security fencing already in place will be open for access before and after school, including weekends and all fences will be locked during school hours with single points of entry available at each school’s office.

TUSD hopes to keep parents in the loop when it comes to ongoing projects, Gordon added, by way of technology.

“I’m happy to say we’ve begun work on a new portion of our website dedicated to keeping our campus communities informed of the status of our major construction projects and how they will impact the site,” he said.

To stay up to date on projects within TUSD, visit