Modesto Junior College plans land purchase in Turlock for future expansion

mrowland@modbee.comFebruary 10, 2014 

The Yosemite Community College District is in the process of purchasing 4 acres of land in Turlock for future expansion of Modesto Junior College.

The four parcels at Dianne and Polous drives off Highway 99 in Turlock will be part of the Measure E bond voters approved in 2004. The district and Modesto Junior College have made numerous expansions thanks to the $326 million bond measure, including a new agricultural pavilion, allied health building and science community center slated to open in May.

Details of the Turlock land sale will remain closed until environmental studies are completed, said district Director of Public Affairs Nick Stavrianoudakis. In the original bond project proposal, $937,185 was allotted for the land acquisition.

The site near the Turlock Auto Plaza could be used in the future for “continuing education, basic skills and vocational programs,” according to the YCCD Measure E website. There are no plans to fund or start construction on the site.

“There is no intention to build at this time, but it would be for future consideration,” Stavrianoudakis said. “The land would be a future site. Building and use has not been determined.”

The Turlock land purchase has been on the district board of trustees’ agenda as a closed session item since August 2013. It will be discussed again in closed session Wednesday at the next scheduled trustee meeting.

According to the district’s website, the future Turlock facility would “house a state-of-the-art learning center to serve residents of southern Stanislaus County and parts of northern Merced County. A learning center in this area will greatly enhance our ability to serve the needs of students in the region surrounding Turlock, including Denair, Hughson and Hilmar.”

The district has used its Measure E bond money to work on high-profile projects, particularly on the two MJC campuses.

Construction has gone on despite shrinking operations budgets throughout the district because of the recession, which prompted millions of dollars in painful cuts to faculty, staff and departments. State law dictates that bond money cannot be used for operations, which includes staffing and school programs.

Measure E provides only for the land acquisition in Turlock. Any future construction on the site will require funding from other sources.

Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at mrowland@modbee.com or (209) 578-2284. Follow her on Twitter @marijkerowland.

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