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School district demolishes trees around Dennis Earl
dennis earl trees
The Turlock Unified School District had all the trees lining Dennis Earl Elementary cut down due to problems with the trees roots lifting adjacent sidewalks. - photo by KRISTINA HACKER/The Journal

Many Turlock residents driving around Dennis Earl Elementary School over the past week were shocked to find all of the trees lining the front grounds of the school cut down.

Fifteen mature trees were cut down along the school’s frontage on N. Olive Avenue and Christoffersen Parkway, markedly changing the landscape of the northeast Turlock intersection.

Jane MacIver, who has been living in the neighborhood surrounding the school for over 20 years, found the mass tree destruction disturbing.

“It was so horrific to see all these trees flattened,” said MacIver. “They should have done some kind of conservation of some sort…I was just astounded.”

According to Turlock Unified School District’s Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Mike Trainor, the trees were removed due to the damage caused by their roots lifting the adjacent sidewalks and causing safety concerns with several tripping hazards.

The tree removal was part of the TUSD Security Fencing Project, which will see new wrought iron fencing installed in front of Dennis Earl, Brown, Medeiros and Walnut elementary schools, followed by chain link fencing around the side and back of the schools.

The $1.3 million project is part of TUSD’s Local Control Accountability Plan and supported by Measure N funds. As part of the plan for Dennis Earl, 25 trees will be demolished and their roots removed for a cost of $37,000.

“During the 2017-2018 school year, the TUSD will develop a tree replacement project with the goal of having it completed prior to the end of the school year.  This project will include new trees that will have better root systems which will prevent this from occurring in the future,” said Trainor.