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Modernization projects exhaust school bond funds
THSmodernization 2
The THS Performing Arts building is virtually unrecognizable in July 2014 as it is completely gutted to prepare for an entire remodel. - photo by Journal file photo

Modernization has been the buzzword throughout Turlock Unified School District as numerous school sites have undergone construction in one way or another, all thanks in part to bond funding from Measure Y and Measure Z.

With the availability of $9.9 million in general obligation bonds from Measure Z School Facilities Improvement District (SFID) approved by voters in 2006, the District was able to fund modernization projects at seven elementary school sites, including Brown, eCademy, Crowell, Cunningham, Julien, Osborn and Wakefield. Funds also went towards improvements at Dutcher Middle School. 

Monetary benefits were also provided by Measure Y general obligation funds, which granted $7.72 million in modernization resources for Roselawn Continuation High School and Turlock High School in 2006.

As detailed in the bond, THS was able to fund the modernization of the girls gymnasium, the performing arts building, the agriculture building and the boys gymnasium. Roselawn was also able to fund several modernization projects.

According to assistant superintendent of business services Mike Trainor, the performing arts building is slated for completion in August. However, the timeline for the girls gymnasium is not as clear.

“As you may know, we have run into a few issues with the girls gym, so that portion of the project has been delayed,” reported Trainor. “We do not have an anticipated date of completion for that particular component.”

Both Measure Y and Measure Z funds have been exhausted. In the event that the District wants to fund any future projects, district administrators will have to begin thinking about other ways finance them.  

These are funds that the District might need to consider pursuing sooner rather than later, as student enrollment growth throughout TUSD is causing many community members to call for the construction of a new elementary school site.

Just recently, parents of Osborn Two-Way Immersion Academy questioned why the District does not just build another elementary school site to address the overcapacity currently at Osborn.

“There are plans for another school, but the problem is the state isn’t giving us money,” TUSD Board President Frank Lima told parents during Tuesday’s Board meeting. “I think to build an elementary school it is around $30 million and for a junior high it is around $50 million. A lot of people think we can just build it, but our challenge is the state isn’t giving us any money.”

However, Trainor reports that although the District is always discussing the potential of a new elementary school site, they can’t begin to develop a plan until they know exactly what they are trying to accomplish and how many kids they have to accommodate.

“The financing of a new school, construction type, size, etc. will be dependent on the input from our stakeholders throughout the community,” concluded Trainor.