In what may be the largest performing arts investment in the history of the Manteca-Lathrop community, the Manteca Unified board of directors will consider spending $ 250,000 on a concept design solution on Tuesday. a performing arts center in the district office complex.

It has the potential in one fell swoop to fill program gaps in the five high schools identified by school administrators, teachers, classified staff and students. It can also significantly strengthen the district’s elementary performing arts programs and open the door to community programs in Manteca, Lathrop and Southwest Manteca, namely Weston Ranch.

Manteca Unified staff began to think about the possibility of a district campus after the big issue continued to surface in campus needs assessments as well as addressing parity between campuses and serving students. emerging.

Building a performing arts theater and classrooms for related programs at East Union High and Sierra High costs at least $ 12 million at each location. And upgrading the performing arts theater at Manteca High and adding related classrooms that would create a facility that would likely be smaller than those in the EU and the Sierra would cost at least $ 3.3 million.

The Weston Ranch and Lathrop High needs assessment was not addressed to the same extent as these are the two newest high schools in the district and, as such, are not specifically referenced in the report. concerning the item of the board meeting on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Office.

The preliminary cost of a central performing arts center at the district office complex has been set at $ 14.6 million. To meet the programming needs of emerging students, the bill is $ 42 million just across three high school campuses. If a similar facility were built on each of the district’s five full campuses, the price tag would exceed $ 70 million.

Victoria Brunn, director of unified community outreach at Manteca, said such an approach would avoid creating five separate facilities that would not be used as much as one central location.

The vision is to expand what is on existing campuses such as ‘black boxes’ or one-room theaters as well as the smaller performing arts center at Manteca High.

It would provide a venue for high school concerts, plays and similar presentations.

Joint elementary programs could also be organized. The district location should also be large enough to accommodate eighth grade promotion ceremonies and potentially high school graduation ceremonies.

Brunn, noting that Manteca and Lathrop as well as southwestern Stockton make heavy use of the district’s facilities for community recreation, would be able to do the same for the performing arts.

It is not uncommon in many districts for nonprofits to use school venues for concerts such as those offered by the now disbanded Manteca Kindred Arts organization and even community theater groups.

What’s unusual is that a district with multiple high school campuses uses a central site away from campuses to avoid duplicating not only construction costs, but also maintenance and ongoing operations costs.

The Louise Avenue district campus – as the crow flies – is less than a mile from East Union High, 1½ miles from Sierra High, 2½ miles from Manteca High, and 5 miles from Lathrop High.

The board is asked to make an initial allocation of $ 250,000 to develop a program summary and a conceptual design solution for the project. Initial planning costs will be focused on conceptual planning services including, but not limited to; architectural design, educational and technical specifications, framework documents, cost estimate, geotechnical studies and topographic surveys.

Public funds set aside for capital expenditure will cover the cost of the study.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email


William E. Bennett