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With parking complete, more Dutcher projects on the way
Dutcher renovations
The new parking lot — and landscaping — at Dutcher Middle School is just one of many improvement projects planned for the campus (ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal).

More improvements are coming soon for Dutcher Middle School, which is in the midst of a hefty modernization project courtesy of Bond Measure N.

Phase 1 of Dutcher’s modernization project began last June with the complete restructuring and repaving of the middle school’s parking lot — a major component of the site’s plan that took months to complete.

“The way we enter the school now off of Hawkeye as opposed to Colorado has really relieved a lot of congestion and has had a really big impact,” Turlock Unified School District Director of Maintenance and Operations Scott Richardson said.

The first of three phases also brought new landscaping, security fencing, improvements to the school office and a brand-new serving area for students where the Child Nutrition Department’s food prep kitchen once was. The whole interior of the building was remodeled, Richardson said, creating a space with “speed lines” where students receive and pay for their food, then exit to the dining room. Thanks to the new serving area, the Dutcher dining room now has the capacity to seat 80 additional students.

There’s even more seating for students now in a new outdoor eating area as well, Richardson added, which was formerly an outdoor quad area. Three shades structures were strategically placed for students to sit at, and raised planters provide additional seating that will one day offer shade when the trees inside of them grow.

“It’s all been really transformed and looks nice,” Richardson said.

Phase 1 of the Dutcher project utilized $4,618,124 from Bond Measure N, which was passed by Turlock voters in 2016 to provide funding for priorities throughout the district.

Currently, Phase 2 of the Dutcher modernization is out to bid. It’s a small phase, Richardson said, as it was unanticipated. While surveying the campus for the school’s other projects, architects noticed that four classroom buildings that were placed in the 1970s are noncompliant with state regulations. The second phase will see these four buildings replaced by refurbished portable classrooms, saving costs while providing up-to-date learning environments for students. Three other classroom buildings will also be moved over into the same area during this phase in order to fix their foundation and realign the buildings. In addition, two restrooms will be adjusted to meet ADA compliance.

“This wasn’t in the original budget,” Richardson said.

The project is estimated to cost $1,092,000.

Phase 3 of the Dutcher project is not yet out to bid, but will replace eight additional classroom portables that are outdated. The classroom buildings are on the south side of campus and all eight — including two that were used for the former nutrition office — will be replaced with new portables. Two new restrooms will also be built.

“It’s a new configuration to really make the best use of that space,” Richardson said.

To keep updated with all of TUSD’s Bond Measure projects, visit