ATWATER -- By next spring, two Atwater schools will have brand-new gyms that also can be used by community members, thanks to a 2004 bond measure.
Two identical 12,000-square-foot gyms will be built at Bellevue Elementary and Mitchell Senior Elementary School campuses. The price tag for the facilities, expected to be done in April, is $7.8 million, with $4.9 million coming from bond funds and the rest from district capital reserves and developer fees.
"I think they (the new gyms) are fantastic," Amy Vann, president of the Atwater Elementary School District's Citizen Oversight Committee, said. "Our kids deserve new stuff, too. The students are looking forward to the gyms being ready to use."
Melinda Hennes, district superintendent, said the gyms will accommodate basketball, volleyball, badminton and all other typical gym sports.
With seating capacity for 450 people, the gyms will have portable stages and additional seating available to accommodate the performing arts and public events. Public restrooms will be separate from locker rooms and storage areas will be provided.
"The board of trustees has focused their attention on the voice of the community as they courageously moved these projects forward during difficult financial times," Hennes said. "These gymnasiums will serve not only the needs of our physical education programs and athletic competitions, but will be available for use by the families in our community, enhancing the Atwater lifestyle."
The two gyms are the final projects funded through the $11 million Measure A, passed seven years ago. Proposition 39 general obligation bond funds are being used. Aileen Colburn, Bellevue and Thomas Olaeta schools received major modernization through the bond fund.
"I'm thrilled. It's a long time coming," board of trustees President Lena Mendoza said. "It's exciting to see it happen, come to fruition. Students can't wait to get it open. That's what is needed right now."
Bellevue School lacks a gym and Vann remembers Mitchell Senior's gyms haven't changed since she was a student there 28 years ago.
Martin Fregoso, the district's chief business official, said the gyms will be built to high school specifications; the designs came through the cooperative effort of staff, parents and the city's recreation department.
The gyms are being designed by Architechnica of Stockton and the contractor is Diede Construction of Lodi. The focus is on hiring local subcontractors, Fregoso said.
Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at
(209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.