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Turlock Unified to enhance student, staff safety with new fencing project
Board also approves funding for On Track Program facility
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Turlock Unified School District will increase security at four elementary school sites following the Board of Trustees' decision on Tuesday to enter into an agreement with SKW & Associates for a Security Fencing Project estimate and preliminary design.

“SKW & Associates has provided services to TUSD on one other occasion and we were pleased with their work,” said Director of Maintenance and Operations Scott Richardson. “At this time we are only looking at estimating the project and developing plans.”

Brown Elementary School, Dennis Earl Elementary School, Medeiros Elementary School and Walnut Elementary Education Center will all be included in this project that will further ensure the safety of students and staff. The project is estimated to cost $26,800 from "Gen Ed - LCAP Safety Major Projects 1365" funding.

“We excluded our secondary sites this year because we wanted to focus on our younger students,” said Richardson.

Richardson said that his department chose these sites based on the fact that they have little or no fencing. While he noted that fencing height varies by school site, average fencing at TUSD is six feet. However, Richardson said that the District does not want to put six foot fencing at the entrance of each site in order to give them an “open feel.”

In terms of a project timeline, Richardson said that he hopes to return to the Board in the next few months with a potential budget when TUSD proceeds with the project.

“We will have a number to bring back to the board to share as to what it would cost if we were to go out and decide to supply fencing around those campuses and make them a more secure facility,” said Richardson. “At this time I do not have a projected start date.”

The Board also took action on Tuesday to accept a proposal from SKW & Associates in an amount not to exceed $43,800 to convert the Lyons House on the corner of Lyons Avenue and Colorado Avenue into a facility for special education services.

“The lease for the On Track Program is concluding in the spring and the program is in need of a new location,” said Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Mike Trainor. “We—for a long time—have been looking for some property of our own and we would really like to have a facility for this program.

“By having our own facility, we’re going to be better able to take care of these young adults,” continued Trainor.

The On Track Program is designed for young adults between the ages of 18 years old and 22 years old with impairments requiring additional educational supports and services outlined by the law. The ultimate goal for these students is to prepare them for adulthood and independence or semi-independence.

Through their architectural and engineering services, SKW & Associates will convert the existing 1,250 square foot building into a classroom environment for the program. The building will need to be stripped down to the studs and reconstructed to provide a classroom environment which will also include a life skills kitchen area, laundry facility, bathroom and staff offices.

This project will create an open room concept to allow the On Track Program to function within the existing building footprint while utilizing the existing parking lot. However, it was noted that it may be necessary to expand the building in order to accommodate the program requirements. If so, the expansion will be addressed in a separate proposal.

“The Lyons House maintains easy access to drop off, pick up and parking, and can accommodate an adult program such as this,” said Trainor. “Positioning the On Track Program near the Office of Special Education would provide additional support to the program and coordinate well with potential plans to move the Special Education office staff to the Colorado Annex Building.”