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Plans for new THS science building take shape
THS science building image
The Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees chose the “contemporary” design presented to them for Turlock High School’s new science building, which is expected to be complete in 2021 (Photo contributed).

Plans are underway to bring a new, contemporary science building to Turlock High School by 2021.

The Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees on Tuesday heard plans for a state-of-the-art facility on the THS campus that will provide an environment for students to learn and practice the Next Generation Science Standards, replacing the current science building on the corner of Canal Drive and North Berkeley Avenue.

The science building used by students today at THS is nearly 60 years old, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Mike Trainor said, and during Tuesday’s Board meeting he presented TUSD Trustees with two design options for the new, two-story facility: contemporary or classical.

While the interior of the two building options are identical, the contemporary design brings a more modern approach to the classroom building, with sleek edges and a wooden beam structure running across its western face. Its window panels are wide and account for much of the building’s wall space, with brick in between, and its roof is flat.

The classical option for the science building more closely resembles the mostly-brick buildings that can be found elsewhere on campus, with smaller, paned windows and a slanted rooftop. In both models, a new gate constructed from brick and iron will be placed at the north end of North Berkeley Avenue on campus.

“It is not uncommon for an architect to come up with a couple of different design options for a project of this magnitude,” Trainor said. “The contemporary design really captures those design elements that resemble a modern-day science building. The classic model has much more of a traditional look and resembles the District Office.”

Ultimately, the Board of Trustees went with the contemporary design for the new science building. There were many who weighed in on the decision before the Board had their say, including District Administration and 12 members of the THS Site Design Team.

Funding for the new science building will come from Bond Measure O, which provided $48 million for high school improvements throughout the District after approval from voters in the 2016 election.

“Bond Measure O had a major focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), and many of those who provided input thought it was important to highlight those elements that resemble a true science building, and not a structure that looks similar to other structures on campus,” Trainor said.

The current THS science building is antiquated and does not align with current instructional practices, Trainor added. With new facilities, science students will be able to participate in the best STEM practices available, benefitting themselves as well as their instructors.

At this time, scheduling calls for a two-year project with construction on the new science building beginning in January 2020 and finishing approximately 12 months from that time. The building is just one component on a long list of capital improvements currently in the works within TUSD, including new sports fields at Pitman High School, which will be completed by spring, and a swine facility at the TUSD Farm.