Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees committed $3 million for land acquisition and development during their last meeting to accommodate existing and future growth needs; however, there are no immediate plans to build a new school on the horizon.
“At this time, there is no timeline for the construction of a new school within our District,” said Chief Financial Officer Ronna Fraser. “TUSD does have several school sites that are large enough to house additional classrooms if that is the direction chosen. Modular school projects are popular due to cost savings and less construction time.”
The Board voted in favor of a $4 million interfund transfer for the 2016-17 fiscal year from the General Fund to the Special Reserve Fund for Capital Projects during their Jan. 3 meeting. Fraser said that the Board began committing funds in the 2013-14 fiscal year to meet future growth needs and TUSD currently has over $12 million designated for land acquisition and development.
“Depending on the scope of the project, the District could be in the position to build a modular school or existing property within the next few years or be able to purchase land if it is needed,” said Fraser.
The Board also approved a $1 million interfund transfer for district renovations — money that Fraser said will go towards renovating two buildings across from Turlock High School on Colorado Avenue for Special Education staff and students. The project is anticipated to be completed this year.
“Administration recommended these assignments of funds in the Adopted Budget and the renovation projects have been approved and are scheduled to begin soon. This transfer is the final step that ensures funds will be available,” said Fraser. “These projects will increase access to services for our Special Education students and families, while also providing a new learning center for students in the On-Track program.”
Also during their last meeting, the Board authorized District administration to solicit bids for the Security Fencing Project at Brown Elementary School, Dennis Earl Elementary School, Medeiros Elementary School and Walnut Elementary Education Center after it was decided to increase security fencing at the four sites last year.
“These four sites had the greatest immediate need,” said Director of Maintenance and Operations Scott Richardson, “particularly Earl, Medeiros and Walnut, which have very little fencing currently.”
The Board entered into an agreement with SKW & Associates last January for the preliminary design and site plans for the four elementary school sites. The current estimate for the project is $985,704.
Upon completion, the front or entry sides of each elementary campus will have a six foot high wrought iron style fence, while the sides and back of the schools will be enclosed by a six foot high chain link fence.
“We want our students to be safe while at school,” said Richardson. “By requiring community members to access the school through the office during school hours, we believe we are creating a much safer environment.”
Richardson said that once the fencing is completed at these four elementary school sites, it is TUSD’s desire to identify the next sites to receive enhanced fencing now that Measure N and Measure O were approved in November.
“This will be brought forward at a Board meeting in the near future,” said Richardson.