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TUSD purchases former car dealership for central kitchen relocation
TUSD kitchen
The Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees approved a Purchase and Sale Agreement between the District and New Life Christian Center on Tuesday for the relocation of its central kitchen facility to Auto Mall Drive. - photo by ALYSSON AREDAS / The Journal

After more than a year’s worth of searching, Turlock Unified School District has finally found the perfect place to relocate its central kitchen facility.


The TUSD Board of Trustees authorized on Tuesday a Purchase and Sale Agreement between the District and New Life Christian Center for property located at 1901 Auto Mall Drive, a location that Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Mike Trainor said satisfies all of the District’s needs.


“The District has been looking for well over a year for the ideal location — access to the school sites, access for delivery trucks from the 99, acreage for expansion, and a building that was in good condition,” said Trainor.


Not only will the new location fulfill all of the TUSD’s requirements, it will also make more room at Dutcher Middle School, which houses the current central kitchen facility. This purchase could not have come at a better time for the middle school campus as it prepares to welcome Osborn Two-Way Immersion Academy sixth graders next academic year.


“The movement of the central kitchen from the Dutcher campus will reduce congestion on Colorado Avenue,” said Trainor. “Also, with the movement of the central kitchen to a new location, we can now make plans for the expansion of the Dutcher campus which will benefit our educational program.


“Some of the decisions that we are making today will provide opportunities for not only our immediate needs, but will benefit the District in future years—five to 10 years down the road,” continued Trainor.


Trainor said that TUSD’s main goal at this point is to work with the City of Turlock in order to ensure that the District can achieve appropriate zoning. He added that he does not anticipate any major changes to the exterior of the building, however, he foresees that TUSD will renovate the interior of the building in order to suit its needs.


During their Dec. 8 meeting, the TUSD Board of Trustees approved a $5 million interfund transfer from the General Fund to the Special Reserve Fund for suitable property acquisitions and renovations for the District’s central kitchen facility, which will allow for expansion of the immersion program at DMS. Trainor said that at this time, TUSD is confident that this is an accurate estimate.


“One of the great things about the central kitchen is if we get that maintenance and operations facility off of that site, it’s going to dedicate that site 100 percent to students,” said Lima earlier this month. “We’ll have that extra space.”