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Debely project to begin in April
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The Turlock Unified School District is moving forward with construction for the Joe Debely renovation project starting April 5 after a request to wait made by the Turlock Citizens Coalition was denied Tuesday.
About 25 community members gave the school district administration and the board of trustees a standing ovation at Tuesday’s board meeting after the trustees approved the lease/leaseback agreement to begin construction on Joe Debely Stadium with about $290,000 in additional costs.
The TUSD Board of Trustees had originally budgeted for $3.4 million, with $2.8 million coming from the City of Turlock Redevelopment Agency and the rest coming from the TUSD RDA funds.
However, the board decided to go with the more expensive of two options presented by Roebbelen Contracting, Inc. in order to build two new bathrooms, at a total cost of $3.69 million, $290,000 over their budget.
“If we are going to do it, let’s do it right,” said Tami Muniz, TUSD trustee.
Even with the board of trustees approving the start of construction, the Turlock Citizens Coalition — a group Debely Stadium neighbors who oppose the renovation project — plans to continue with their law suit.
“We have filed the second amendment petition already,” said Richard Harriman, attorney for the Turlock Citizens Coalition.
The hearing for the filed amendment is expected around July 24 about 210 days from the filed law suit, Harriman said. If the project continues, Harriman said that the courts could stop the construction or they could send the project back to the TUSD and tell the district that they can’t use the stadium until they perform a California Environmental Quality Act review on the impacts the stadium has on the surrounding environment.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the board also discussed the Facility Rules and Use Agreement that addressed some of the concerns of the Turlock Citizens Coalition.
“I’m happier. Thank you very much,” said Lynn Gaiser-Sarraille, member of the Turlock Citizens Coalition.
Even though some concerns were addressed, the specifics were ignored, she said. Members of the Turlock Citizens Coalition are looking for specifics in the Facility Rules and Use Agreement with noise volumes and amount of usage for the field that has yet to be written in the agreement. The agreement focuses on TUSD supervision, violations of rules and agreement, times for usage, property damage, noise, alcohol and tobacco, shoes and general rules.
Under this agreement, TUSD will provide an employee that will be in charge of the stadium, which is new to the district, including opening and closing the stadium, operating the mechanical systems and public address systems, and the supervision of all facility users to make sure all rules are being followed, said TUSD Deputy Superintendent Ed Felt.
The agreement also mentions noise and does not allow whistles, air horns or other air-powered or mechanically powered devices at an event. The only permitted amplified sound is the TUSD public address system.
The board will discuss more of the usage agreement at their next board meeting, scheduled to be held at 6:30 p.m. April 13 in the Turlock High School Performing Arts Building.  
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015