Schools ready for modern makeover
by Maddy Houk
Jul 12, 2012 | 2123 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Patterson schools will get a boost to modernize local campuses thanks to $17 million that the State Allocation Board designated for the district June 27.

Phil Alfano, superintendent of the Patterson Joint Unified School District, said he is excited about the money that will allow the renovations.

“Employees feel better about coming to work, and our students feel better about coming to school when they have school facilities that are up to date and in good repair,” Alfano said. “It creates a positive environment for learning.”

Modernization projects include building a new central administration building at Patterson High and re-roofing the high school’s music room and library. In addition, the portable classrooms on the North Seventh Street side of the high school campus will be demolished.

Del Puerto High School will get covered walkways for classrooms and a courtyard, where two existing classrooms are to be removed. Del Puerto’s buildings also will be upgraded for communication and for technology infrastructure for the new electrical system and computers.

Meanwhile, at Las Palmas Elementary School, the kitchen will get an overhaul with new flooring, stainless steel sinks, and a worktable and dishwashing area. The administrative office will be made larger and given a new entry, floor and ceiling.

Some classrooms at Northmead Elementary and Grayson Charter in Westley will be removed and others relocated. Northmead will also get a new administration office, as well as cafeteria upgrades that include new flooring, restrooms and painting.

All these project upgrades already have received state approval. The next step is for those projects to go to bid on construction, determining when work starts.

The State Allocation Board offers grants to school districts in which students are housed in permanent buildings that are at least 25 years old and in portable classrooms that are at least 20 years old.

The buildings must not have been previously modernized with state funds, as is the case in Patterson.

The local district will have to match 20 percent of the grant money with district facility accounts build up by developer fees and bond funds because the local district was eligible for additional funding through the Financial Hardship Program, which decreases their match requirement. Otherwise, the distsrict's match would be 40 percent.

The district has 90 days from June 27 to have contracts signed with construction firms. Then, district officials will meet with architects to see which projects will begin first, or if they will all start simultaneously.

The local school district applied for the money two years ago. Ruben Piña, president of the board of trustees, said he would be glad when money is in hand — probably by mid-October.

“The board, with input from the community and teachers, will prioritize the list of needs,” Pina said.

District schools are set to open Aug. 13, a Monday, and students and staff will be back on campus using the classrooms.

“The main thing is it will depend on what needs to be done that will have the least impact on staff and students,” Steve Menge, assistant superintendent of administrative services, said of the upcoming projects. “It also depends on the weather — some projects can be done inside and some outside. There are a lot of factors we have to take into consideration.”

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