Weaver Union School District pins hopes on November ballot

12/29/2013 8:52 PM

12/29/2013 9:48 PM

Modernization of Weaver Middle School is slowly marching on, with schematic designs being prepared to update the 66-year-old campus on the outskirts of Merced.

John Curry, superintendent of the Weaver Union School District, said the schematics prepared by architect Paul Bunton of San Jose will be submitted to the Department of State Architecture before formal plans are prepared.

Plans call for 12 new classrooms in two wings, a new front office, modernization of existing buildings, new bus parking and student pickup and dropoff points, Curry said. Old portable classrooms then would be replaced.

The schematics will be submitted in April. The typical turnaround from the state is two to six months. Bunton will be soliciting renovation cost estimates from contractors.

“We will let building contractors tell us what we can afford,” Curry said. “We may have to adjust our design.”

Trustee Bob Freitas said the district is waiting to get in line for hardship funding from the state. He said upgrades to the school, built in 1947, are sorely needed.

“The outlook is pretty good for the state to do something,” Freitas said. “I’m optimistic and will wait to see what happens. There are probably lots of school districts in line; there are still a lot of ‘ifs’ from the state.”

Trustee Renee Nelson said she is excited about the opportunity to bring something new to the district.

“We’re working very hard to make sure we put together the best project possible,” Nelson said. “There is a limited amount of funds to spend, which means we won’t be able to make a castle out of it. (Weaver Middle School) is getting very old and we are doing our utmost to give kids the best possible place to get educated.”

Voters last year approved Measure G, which provides up to $9 million, but Curry is hoping that a state school construction bond measure can be scheduled for November and that voters will approve it. If so, that money plus some of the Measure G money could be applied to the construction of a new elementary school.

“It’s going to look really nice,” Curry said. “We will be able to have graduation back at Weaver Middle School.”

Local bonds would be only a small portion of the costs if state grants for new construction and modernization are available.

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