New looks for some of the Weaver Union School District's aging facilities are years away, but the groundwork leading up to these improvements is ramping up.
Superintendent John Curry said the district is in the process of preparing an application for $14 million in state aid for renovation of Weaver Middle School, improvements at other campuses and eventual construction of a new elementary school.
Curry said the application to the state Department of Education for funding likely will be submitted in May. Weaver trustees also are soliciting proposals from architects to design updated facilities.
Weaver voters in November approved Measure G, which authorizes up to $9 million in bonds to be used with the state funds for construction. There is about $2 million left from previous bonds used to build Farmdale School several years ago.
Another source of building revenue will be about $400,000 in developer fees when permits are pulled soon for a 1.2 million-square-foot Wal-Mart distribution center on 235 acres south of Childs Avenue near Gerard Avenue.
Curry said no permits have been pulled in the past three or four years for commercial or residential construction in the Weaver area. The district is allowed to charge $3.90 per square foot in building fees and shares some of the money with the Merced Union High School District.
"It (Wal-Mart fees) will be a nice shot in the arm for us," Curry said.
Remodeling of the 65-year-old Weaver Middle School complex on East Childs Avenue likely will be the first evidence of the planned improvements. Fourteen of the 20 portable classrooms there will be replaced with permanent classrooms.
Expansion of the gym and relocation of the district's transportation department are in the works at Weaver Middle School. The last phase of construction there will be a new administration building.
Trustee Robert Freitas said the construction at the middle school will be a blessing for students and parents.
"It just needs to be renovated," Freitas said. "It's much needed. Parking is terrible. I am looking forward to it. We are dotting all our i's and crossing our t's. It's not as simple as it sounds. I had no idea there were so many hoops to jump through."
Trustee Harry Hose said the district is going down the checklist and just beginning the construction process. New buildings are at least three or four years away. He invites more parents to become involved on committees related to the construction.
Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.