TURLOCK -- Julien and Wakefield elementary schools are set to undergo some $6.3 million in modernization in the coming year.
Turlock Unified School District approved the budgets for about $5.5 million for Julien and $858,000 for Wakefield. The projects are part of an ongoing modernization of all the district schools, reaching back to 2006.
Both schools were built in the 1950s and have not undergone modernization for more than a decade. The Julien project is the largest modernization budgeted in the district so far and will include building additions and relocations.
The budget presentation was part of a special meeting called Nov. 13 to discuss the modernization plans. Mike Trainor, Turlock Unified assistant superintendent of business services, said the district chose to use a special meeting to provide more of a workshop setting for the board members to ask questions.
"It's been a long time; these projects have been on the list since 2006, when the process started," he said.
Both budgets were approved in a unanimous decision. The projects are slated to start in the summer of 2013 and be finished sometime in the year, although no completion date is set.
The larger Julien project will include the creation of a parking lot and play courts, additional student restrooms, a half-dozen portable classroom areas and relocation of some existing portable classroom pods. There will be improvements made to existing classrooms and other facilities.
The Wakefield project will include constructing an on-site student loading zone and student restrooms. There will be other work done to bring existing facilities up to code and fix cosmetic problems.
The money will come from state matching funds for capital projects, as part of the $9.9 million school bond Measure Z that was passed by voters in 2006. No money will come from the district's general fund.
The projects had been in question because of added costs to an existing modernization project at Brown Elementary School. In May, dry rot was found in the school, and repairs will cost up to an extra $1.9 million on top of the project's original $3.1 million budget.
But Trainor said the district and board felt confident moving forward with the Julien and Wakefield projects despite the added expenditures.
Since 2006, modernization projects through the district have been tackled at Turlock High School, Roselawn Continuation High School, Dutcher Middle School, Crane Elementary School (now eCademy at Crane), Osborn Two-Way Immersion Academy, and Brown, Crowell and Cunningham elementary schools.
Modernization plans for Turlock High's performing arts center and west gym were postponed until the state matching funds for Julien and Wakefield are received. Those projects would cost an estimated $8.2 million.
"The reality of it is that until we get a better feel for the projects at Brown, we can't move forward with Turlock High and others," Trainor said. "This is the best plan, to focus on these two elementary schools and delay others."
Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2284. Follow her on www.twitter.com/turlocknow.