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Turlock Unified takes a look at first Measure N and O projects

Since construction was completed in 2002, the Pitman High School B-Wing’s heating and cooling equipment has been operated through a centralized control system, often leaving students and teachers either too hot or too cold with no possibility for room-to-room adjustment. Turlock Unified School District is hoping to correct this issue very soon as discussions began Monday on different Measure N and Measure O projects, including how to improve heating, ventilation and air conditioning at the high school site.

“I feel so bad for those teachers and those students for the last 14 years that have had classes on that sunny side,” said Trustee Frank Lima. “It’s never operated right and I feel bad as a Board member. The students and staff must have a comfortable environment to learn and teach. The question is how do you get there and what is the most cost-efficient way to do it?”

How exactly TUSD is planning on providing better heating, ventilation and air conditioning to Pitman High School’s B-Wing was one school need discussed by the Board of Trustees during a Bond Workshop on Monday. Following the passing of Measure N and Measure O bond measures in November, Trustees must now go through and identify which school needs they would like to address before the first bond sale next month.

“Our goal is to bring our very best thinking to the Board of Trustees. These are the projects that we think we need to focus on,” said Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Mike Trainor. “Our goal is to see what the Board thinks we should focus on.”

The focus of the two bonds, a $40.8 million elementary bond measure and a $48 million district wide bond measure, is to address critical educational and facility needs throughout the district, including safety improvements, modernization of facilities, updated and improved facilities for Science Technology Engineering Mathematics programs and renovations to the Turlock High Science wing.

“We want to make a point of saying although there are many needs and many wants in the district, anything and everything that we take on will have to align with our commitments to the community,” said Trainor.

“It’s our responsibility to make sure with our voters that we meet the intent of that bond,” added Director of Maintenance and Operations Scott Richardson.

During Monday’s workshop, Richardson provided the Board with a list of identified school site needs. Among this list were first bond sale priorities, including a parking lot and drop off at Dutcher Middle School; office realignment at Osborn Two-Way Immersion Academy; heating, ventilation and air conditioning at Pitman High School; complete modernization at Turlock Junior High School; STEM upgrades at Turlock High School; and kindergarten facilities at Wakefield Elementary School. Richardson said that TUSD has three bond sales over a six-year period, with the first bond sale slated for April.

“I want to state early on that we don’t want this to be misconstrued as a list that is by any means prioritized or endorsed by the school sites,” said Richardson. “It is our intention to make sure that we have some very thorough committees put together at each school site that will receive bond measurement funds so that the school site staff members, community members as well as our architects will be involved in taking an in-depth look at that school, listening to the needs at that school and then bringing priorities back to the group so that we can verify and help to make sure that their priorities align with the bond sale.

“Our hope is by the time we’re done this evening that we’ll have a clear picture of what our goals are,” continued Richardson.

Facilities Planner and Safety Coordinator Martell Taylor said that the first bond issue for Measure N is expected to be around $12.5 million, while the first bond issue for Measure O is estimated to be about $14.7 million. Taylor said that these funds will be used throughout the course of the next three years.

As the Turlock Planning Commission Chair, Victor Pedroza attended the Board Workshop on Monday and encouraged the district to formulate a master plan to paint a clearer picture for the future of their schools, as well as to communicate their plan with Turlock City Council and Planning Commission.

“We just finished doing a 10-year master plan and we use that master plan to develop the city,” said Pedroza. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that we earmarked money for certain projects, but we just kind of have a battle plan as to which direction we are going and we share that plan with everyone. I would encourage you guys to come talk to us about what you’re doing as you develop a master plan.”