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Design work begins for school bond projects

When Turlock voters passed Bond Measures N and O last November, they knew the funding would be used within the Turlock Unified School District to address critical educational and facility needs, including safety improvements, upgrades and modernizations. Nearly seven months later, the District has now set into motion a plan to put those funds to use, using a combination of professional and local experience at each school site to design projects that will best benefit each campus.

Results from the Nov. 8 election showed 69.3 percent approval for Measure N, a $40.8 million elementary bond measure, and 67.9 percent approval for Measure O, a $48 million district-wide bond measure. While several bond projects are already underway according to Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Mike Trainor, such as security fencing at four separate elementary sites and improvements to heating, ventilation and air conditioning in Pitman High School’s B-Wing, Design Site Teams have been put together at six schools within the District in order to work with recently-hired architectural firms.

Through a number of meetings and discussions, Design Site Teams at Wakefield Elementary, Osborn Two-Way Immersion Academy, Dutcher Middle School, Turlock Junior High, Turlock High School and PHS will work together to explore the needs at each school site.

“As this information is vetted, the architects will then have the information to put together preliminary plans and cost estimates related to each project,” said Trainor.

Design teams at the sites are made up of Trainor, Facilities Planner and Safety Coordinator Martell Taylor, Director of Maintenance Operations Scott Richardson, Larry Winters, the site’s architect, principal, two to three teacher representatives, a classified representative, a custodian and one community representative. Selecting design team members that work at each site was especially important, said Trainor, because these members “have the day to day experience of working at that specific site, which is extremely valuable knowledge.”

At their May 16 meeting, the Board of Trustees authorized the District to enter into agreements for preliminary design work with four separate firms: FF&J Architects (Wakefield, Osborn and TJHS), Teter (Dutcher), Darden Architects (THS) and California Design West (PHS).

Potential project priorities for the first bond sales, which took place on April 18 and 19 and provided a combined $27.2 million to be used over the course the next three years, were discussed at a workshop hosted by the District on March 13. These included a parking lot and drop off at Dutcher, office realignment at Osborn, complete modernization at THS, STEM upgrades at THS and kindergarten facilities at Wakefield.

“I want to state early on that we don’t want this to be misconstrued as a list that is by any means prioritized or endorsed by the school sites,” said Richardson at the workshop in March. “It is our intention to make sure that we have some very thorough committees put together at each school site that will receive bond measurement funds so that the school site staff members, community members as well as our architects will be involved in taking an in-depth look at that school, listening to the needs at that school and then bringing priorities back to the group so that we can verify and help to make sure that their priorities align with the bond sale.”


That very process has begun, and although recommended needs have been examined at each school site, projects will not be decided upon until meetings between each Design Site Team and the architectural firms are complete. According to Trainor, preliminary designs are expected to be submitted by early fall.