Thursday, Feb. 07, 2013
Mercey Springs school awaits state architect's OK
By Corey Pride / Cpride@losbanosenterprise.com
Mercey Springs Elementary may get approval to start construction as early as today.
Superintendent Steve Tietjen said building plans are up for approval by the state architect. After consent for construction is received, the pre-fabricated structures will be built in 10-day increments.
Los Banos' newest kindergarten through sixth-grade facility will be built by JTS Construction at its headquarters in Bakersfield. Tietjen said the buildings will be placed at the Mercey Springs Road school site in May. Subcontractors are expected to be at the site Wednesday to determine what needs to be done in preparation for the arrival of the buildings.
Tietjen said most recently he has been working with the city to address the worries of neighbors living next to the school site.
"Some community members were concerned that the area by the school was dark, so they wanted the street lights energized so there isn't vandalism," Tietjen said.
He said the city will make sure the street lights are functioning.
Although that issue is solved, the Los Banos Unified School District is still waiting on an answer from the California Department of Transportation on whether the school will be allowed to open before a traffic signal is completed.
Caltrans wants the district to pay for a traffic light near the campus at the intersection of Scripps Drive and Highway 165. The federal grant the district was planning to apply for to fund the project likely won't be available until next year. Meanwhile, the district is expecting a record-high 10,000 students next school year.
Tietjen said he plans to continue being persistent in seeking an answer from Caltrans as to whether the elementary school will be permitted to open.
Mercey Springs Elementary School will be used as a College Greens neighborhood school. There are 338 students from the area who will potentially attend. The district is about two-thirds of the way finished with a survey asking parents if they plan to request their children remain in the schools they're enrolled in now. Tietjen said, so far, about 80 percent of the parents want their children to attend Mercey Springs Elementary.
Enterprise reporter Corey Pride can be reached at (209) 388-6563 or by email at email@example.com.