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Wakefield Head Start project nearing completion
Kindergarten relocation to break ground soon
Wakefield pic
The playground area of Wakefield Elementary Schools Head Start program is under reconstruction, and will be completed in the coming weeks, along with a new playground, one new classroom and an extension of the schools existing parking lot. - photo by ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal

The year 2017 is one that has involved plenty of change for Wakefield Elementary School, and more is still to come. As Turlock Unified School District’s improvements to the site’s Head Start program inch closer and closer to completion, the Board of Trustees on Tuesday approved a bid for construction on the Wakefield Kindergarten Relocation Project, which is expected to begin within the next two weeks.

In May, crews began construction on the Head Start project once school was out for summer. The goal, said Director of Maintenance Operations Scott Richardson, is to have the improvements completed before Aug. 24.

“The Head Start program has a later start than the traditional school year, so the goal is to have it done before kids arrive back,” said Richardson.

Included in the Head Start project is one new classroom, and the reconstruction of the children’s playground area. An entirely new playground will be constructed for students near the end of the job, added Richardson, and the school’s parking area for staff and parents also was extended in order to help alleviate congestion around the campus and provide a safer environment for the drop off and pick up of students.

“This will create a better drop off area, so the students aren’t being dropped off right on the road, but actually on the property,” said Richardson.

While the Head Start project will be completed within the next two weeks, another project at Wakefield is slated to begin within the same timeframe.

The Board approved a bid from Harris Builders, Inc., totaling $894,350 for the Wakefield Kindergarten Relocation Project, which was significantly lower than the District’s estimate of probable construction costs.

The relocation of Wakefield’s kindergarten program, which has become increasingly popular since introducing an extended day program last year, came as an effort to both accommodate more students and create an appearance similar to other kindergarten programs through the District.

The kindergarten portion of the school is currently made up of multiple portable classrooms, which face in different directions and are in a remote area away from restrooms.

Once the project is complete, the kindergarten program will have five brand new classrooms and a new restroom.

“Right now, the children in those kindergarten classes are having to be taken to restroom time in groups because they don’t have a restroom dedicated to kindergarten or a restroom close to their classrooms,” said Richardson at the Nov. 1 Board meeting, when the project was first proposed. “They can’t just leave the classroom and go to the restroom on their own.”

A new playground was constructed for kindergarteners last December, and the relocation project will see the structure’s surrounding area improved with sidewalks for a tricycle path and an expanded, fenced area for children to play in.

The Wakefield Kindergarten Relocation Project is expected to be completed in December.