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TUSD moves forward with proposal to expand parking at Wakefield
The Turlock Unified School District is considering a proposal to add parking at Wakefield. - photo by Journal file photo

The Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees is hoping a proposal to expand the parking lot in front of Wakefield Elementary School will help alleviate congestion around the campus, which continues to attract more students for its dual immersion program and extended-day transitional kindergarten and kindergarten class offerings.

On Tuesday, the TUSD Board authorized administration to solicit bids regarding the Wakefield Kindergarten Relocation Project to modernize existing facilities for kindergarten students, as well as approved a recommended proposal to expand the staff parking lot at the front of the school off of South Avenue.

This decision came after the Board contemplated an additional parking lot and bus drop off near the kindergarten facility along the south end of campus on Bernell Avenue. The lot, which would provide 17 parking stalls, would be closed off during the school day. Two side gates that were also included in the proposed site map would also be locked once the school day begins, meaning that parents or students who arrive on campus after the bell rings would need to enter through the main office at the front of school.

“We wanted to present to the Board this concept because the Board had interest in it,” said Richardson. “However, when we asked site administration, they didn’t see it as much of a need. They saw it as more effective to add staff parking to the front of the school.”

Gary Mallory of FF&J Architects, who presented the proposed site map to trustees on Tuesday, said that the cost of this additional parking lot and bus drop off area would be around $300,000 to $350,000, while the cost of expanding the parking lot at the front of the school would cost less than $100,000. Richardson said that with this expansion, the school can easily add another 20 parking spots.

“I have a really hard time justifying spending $300,000 if we can accommodate it in a much more cost-efficient manner,” said trustee Frank Lima.

Following the Board’s decision to solicit bids for the project, they authorized administration to enter into an agreement with American Modular Systems in the amount of $599,530 to purchase five new modular classrooms for Wakefield Elementary School. The buildings will be built independently at the plant in Lathrop, but assembled on site.

“I would like to highlight that this building will be built with a concrete floor,” said Richardson. “Folks who have been in the District for a long time know that we have had trouble over the years with some of our older relocatable classroom buildings that were restrooms because of their construction. So many years ago we stopped building wood framed floors in our restrooms and went to concrete.”

Richardson said that the most recent relocatable restroom building that was made with a concrete floor was built in 2011 at Wakefield. He added that he went to visit the restroom last week to find that it was still in very good condition.

“It’s amazing what adding concrete can do for a restroom facility,” said Richardson. “It’s a very solid building and it provides a lot of protection from both the elements on the exterior as well as on the interior.”

Principal Luisa Salinas said that the kindergarten program at Wakefield is solely dual-immersion, with this year encompassing mainly students who reside within the Wakefield attendance area. Next year, she said that Wakefield will welcome 23 students that live outside of the school’s attendance area.

Also on Tuesday, the TUSD Board authorized administration to solicit bids for the Roselawn Plumbing Replacement Project, which is estimated to cost the district $65,000. On Feb. 7, trustees approved an agreement with Darden Architects for design and oversight of plumbing revisions at Roselawn High School. TUSD is required to eliminate all copper piping and lead containing solder found with the Roselawn High School plumbing system.

Trustees also voted to add Parent Teacher Association member and parent Patrick Bettencourt, and Steve Soderstrom, who is an active member in the district business community and parent, to the Measure O bond oversight committee. Bettencourt will serve on the Measure N oversight committee as well.

Tuesday’s approval comes after PTA members and parents Toni Boster, Lacy Elliot and David Folly were confirmed for the Measure N bond oversight committee, along with Harry Carlson and Kathi Farber, who are both active in senior citizens’ organizations, Georgianna McDonald, who is active in a bona fide taxpayers’ organization, and Bryan Tribble, who is an active member in the District business community. These members will also serve on the Measure O bond oversight committee.