ATWATER -- At the end of May, two of Atwater's middle schools will be sporting new gymnasiums that the community can use as well.
Work on the gyms at Bellevue School and Mitchell Senior Elementary School began at the end of July last year with a May 31 completion date anticipated, according to Martin Fregoso, the Atwater Elementary School District's chief budget official.
Most of the gyms' cost was covered through the 2004 Measure A general obligation bond which ultimately covered $11 million in improvements to district schools, Superintendent Melinda Hennes said.
The facilities are nearly identical but the Mitchell facility also has a classroom. Both measure about 12,200 square feet.
"We're really excited about making the facility available for the community," Hennes said, "and we're glad for the opportunity to use tax money to meet needs expressed for many years. We are pleased to make it happen."
Fregoso said the gyms cost $6.5 million, of which $4.9 million came from the bond and the rest was from capital reserves and developer fees. They include a regulation-sized basketball court and can accommodate basketball, volleyball and badminton.
Bellevue School, a kindergarten through eighth grade school, will hold its graduation ceremonies May 30 in the new gym. Diede Construction of Lodi was the general contractor on the project.
Bellevue Principal Joe Galindo said a considerable amount of planning went into the new facility. "It's going to be neat for the community," Galindo said. "The job is very well done."
Fregoso said Mitchell Senior's current gym and cafeteria will become solely a cafeteria. Work crews now are installing hardwood floors, restroom fixtures and other cosmetic features.
Andy Kirsten, Mitchell Senior's principal, said it's good for students and the community to have something new at the campus, which dates back to the 1950s.
"This school belongs to the whole town," Kirsten said. "We're happy to share. This has generated conversation in the neighborhood."
Kirsten said a portable stage has been ordered for the gym, along with retractable seating accommodating about 550 people.
Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at
(209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.