School buildings nearly placed, grass is next

By Corey Pride / Cpride@losbanosenterprise.comMay 16, 2013 

Mercey Springs Elementary School is on track to open in August.

Michael Tellian, principal architect with Visalia-based Mangini Associates, said the structures will be in place by next week.

"The bottom line is we are on schedule," Tellian said. "All the buildings will be landed on site by the twenty-third of this month and the grass will be planted by June 4."

The buildings were constructed in Bakersfield by JTS Construction and have been in the process of being transported one at a time to Los Banos and placed on their foundations since April 12.

The school will be located at the former Merced College, Los Banos Campus, in the 16000 block of Mercey Springs Road. The district kept one building from the former college campus, which previously was used as a preschool.

Mercey Springs Elementary, which is projected to have 310 students, is expected to stem the district's overcrowding problem. Los Banos Unified is expecting more than 10,000 students districtwide.

The district recently approved furnishings for the school from Office Supply Express and Office City.

"We do put a premium on working with our local folks," Superintendent Steve Tietjen said.

Eric Sowersby, principal of Mercey Springs Elementary, said he was most interested in durability.

"It wasn't about what was the cheapest item on the list," Sowersby said of his review of furniture options. "We were looking for what was going to be the best furniture for the students. Ten years from now, I want that furniture still to be there, not have to replace the nuts and bolts."

Sowersby said he and his teachers sat in the chairs that were chosen to determine their comfort level. He said if he were fidgeting in a chair by midday, the students would as well.

In the past month, Sowersby has held two informational meetings for parents whose children will be attending the new school.

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