One of the two Highway 88 bypass proposals remaining on the table would send a new four-lane highway right through the path of several buildings under construction at Lockeford Elementary School.
"Yes, those buildings that are currently being built would have to be moved," project manager Mike Higgins told the Lockeford Municipal Advisory Council on Thursday night.
The alignment going through the campus is one of two options being considered to divert traffic out of downtown Lockeford. The other option would go from the current highway and then along Brandt Road before heading north through farmland between Tully and Disch roads.
Due to required environmental studies, property acquisition and lack of funding, bypass construction wouldn't begin until at least 2022, said Higgins, who lives in Lodi.
The Lodi Unified School District is building seven new classrooms, including a science lab, to serve seventhand eighth-graders. Lockeford middle school students now attend Houston School in Acampo.
The school construction also includes a multipurpose room that can be used for physical education and a kitchen.
"It's very, very nice," Lodi Unified Trustee Bonnie Cassel said.
Contacted by phone after Thursday's MAC meeting, Cassel, who represents the Lockeford area, said she had no idea that any of the bypass options called for moving the new school buildings. The school expansion is being financed by Measure K bonds, which Cassel said was supported in Lockeford because the expansion project was part of the deal.
"I have followed the bypass meetings for a long time," she said. "I finally quit going because the time frame keeps going longer and there never seems to be any funding."
Completion of the $8.5 million school expansion is scheduled for completion prior to the 2011-12 school year.
In his report to the Lockeford MAC, Higgins reported that five bypass options were originally studied, but they've been narrowed down to two.
Higgins, hired as a consultant by the San Joaquin Council of Governments, said that he had discussed the proposals from school district representatives, the Clements-Lockeford Chamber of Commerce, Lockeford Historical Society and property and business owners in downtown Lockeford.
Municipal Advisory Council member Joe Sublett said he doesn't like the option that goes through campus, mostly because the route is too close to downtown Lockeford, which is besieged by heavy traffic during commute hours and people driving through town heading to the mountains in Calaveras and Amador counties.
"It's a community corridor," Sublett said. "We are trying to take our main street back."
Regarding the Brandt Road option, rural property owners along the route will get letters the next few days informing them that surveyors will be checking their property to see what environmental studies will be required, Higgins said.
Potential issues regarding the option that goes along Brandt and farm land, Higgins said, include the possibility of endangered species and vernal pools, the paving of prime agricultural land and whether the route would induce growth.
The next step is for Higgins to discuss the final two options with the same Lockeford groups he met with previously and then hold a community meeting, possibly at the Mokelumne fire station on Brandt Road. The environmental report will be available for public review sometime in 2012, Higgins said.
MAC chairwoman Lani Eklund said she would like to see an artist's rendering in addition to a map the next time the bypass options are discussed.
"I'd like to see a little school, a little gas station, a little Robinson's (Feed), a little Luther Locke building," Eklund said.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.