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TUSD Board considers projects for general obligation bond
The Turlock Unified School District is considering which improvement projects to possibly put on a bond measure for the November ballot. Previous bonds, like Measure Y, went to pay for the modernization of the Turlock High girls gym, among other projects. - photo by Journal file photo

The Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees took recommendations from the Bond Advisory Committee regarding the feasibility of proposed projects for the potential November 2016 bond measure at Tuesday’s meeting. Though it was recommended that the Board vote to determine the proposed facilities for the bond measure, the vote was postponed due to uncertainty of which proposed projects should be placed on the measure.

The finalized proposed projects were presented to the Board by Facility Planner and Safety Coordinator Roger Smith.

“What has guided the decision of these projects is a blend of different sources,” said Smith. “We took the district’s vision and the bond survey results to come up with a blend and overview of the vision of the district.”

In April, Godbe Research presented the findings of their feasibility survey to the Board. A survey of 500 local voters was given in order to assess potential voter support for bond measures to upgrade and repair schools through local funding. The survey provided voter opinions for the development of potential school facilities general obligation bond measures for the November 2016 election.

In the survey, it was found that 65.6 percent of voters surveyed were likely to approve $49 million of bonds that would improve Turlock’s high schools with local funding that cannot be taken by the state. 68.1 percent of voters were likely to approve the $40 million bond measure to upgrade and repair the elementary schools within the district.  In order to pass, both measures would need a 55 percent threshold come Election Day.

This information combined with various project plans that complete the vision of TUSD led to the choosing of five potential district projects to be fulfilled should the bond measure pass in November. The proposed projects include safety and security improvements (fences, cameras and signs), a new Turlock High School science wing, improvements to STEM facilities and related technology, modernizations and renovations among the campuses within the district and cafeteria upgrades.

Along with the new proposed projects, the cost of each project was also provided. Safety improvements are estimated to cost $3 million, while upgrades to STEM facilities will cost an estimated $5 million. An estimated $9 million will go toward the new THS science wing and the continuation of campus modernizations are estimated at $20.7 million. Including $5 million estimated to go toward district farm improvements and the support of career education, the total cost estimate is at $42.7 million. The bond measure goals, if passed, total $46.1 million.