The Lodi Unified School District Board of Trustees received an update on projects funded by Measure U, a $281 million bond passed by Lodi voters in 2016 to upgrade and repair school and district sites, during Tuesday night’s meeting,
With an estimated cost of $14 million, a contract to relocate the district’s maintenance and operations building has been awarded to Diede Construction, according to Leonard Kahn, the district’s chief business officer, and construction has finished on Tokay High School’s new athletic stadium with a cost of more than $5.5 million.
Additional upgrades to Tokay High with an estimated cost of more than $25.5 million are currently in the schematic design phase, according to Kahn’s presentation, and schematic designs have been completed for a $75 million upgrade to Lodi High School’s campus.
Renovations at Clyde W. Needham Elementary School, with an estimated cost of $20 million, are also currently in the schematic design phase, according to Kahn’s presentation.
“After these four projects, we really do not have a large project afterward,” Kahn said on Tuesday. “They all range in value from roughly $10 million down to under $1 million.”
Architect Gary Gery of PBK Architects also gave a report on the schematic designs for Lodi High’s new campus, which he said will include demolishing portable classrooms on the north portion of campus to make room for a new complex of classroom buildings.
“In working with staff, we have grouped (the classrooms) with social science, English, math as well as science,” Gery said.
The two-story buildings will be connected by covered exterior walkways, Gery said, and will be constructed around a new, larger quad area.
“There will be some new parking to the south, just north of the track, and we’ll take out some buildings down to do that as well,” Gery said.
The new classroom buildings will be placed at angles to one another to create covered exterior areas which Gery called “learning stairs.”
“It’ll be a combination of an actual walkway, but large, wide areas for students to sit on and work and socialize together,” Gery said.
In addition to a new student drop-off area and separate student and staff parking lots, the new campus will also feature a new quad area that Gery said can be used for events such as college fairs, school plays off of the second-floor balconies and speeches by student body candidates.
“A number of things can happen in this area,” Gery said.
Board member Courtney Porter, who represents Area 4 which includes Lodi High, said that several stakeholders have expressed concerns that the schematic design does not include plans for a new swimming pool.
“At Lodi High, they have a very inadequate pool facility and these people are very involved in the community, very vocal and they’re also very much aware of how we need additional aquatic facilities,” Porter said.
Kahn said that although the board earmarked $5 million for a new pool at Lodi High, the pool was not included in the schematic design.
Board member Ron Freitas applauded the schematic design for including large windows to maximize natural light as well as the stairwells, and asked what percentage of students will be housed in the new classrooms.
“About 68 classrooms, so close to 90 percent (of students),” Kahn said.
When asked by Porter what percentage of the current facility will be not demolished, Kahn did not have an exact number but estimated that approximately 54 classrooms will be demolished.
“Looking at the map, I’d say 30 percent is not going to be renovated,” Kahn said. “Probably 60 percent will be completely demolished.”
When board vice president Joe Nava asked why renovating Lodi High’s theater was not included in the schematic design, Kahn said the school’s staff and administration were asked to prioritize which parts of campus to upgrade. Kahn added that the project’s total estimated cost has not yet been finalized.
“We won’t know until we actually have prices returned to us from the market, but I don’t believe this entire project will cost $75 million,” Kahn said. “It’s just a guess, but that’s what I believe.”