WLC Project Feature: Central Elementary School Grand Opening

WLC is pleased to announce the grand opening of the Central Elementary School in Tracy, California.

Photo Credit: Tracy Press

The original Central Elementary School, located next door to the new facility, was constructed in 1938 at the corner of Parker and Eaton avenues.  The school included six classrooms, an auditorium-lunch room, teachers' room, and office.  As the needs of the school grew over the years, additional classrooms and a multipurpose room were added.

The new 54,353 square foot campus includes a new administration building, 4 new kindergarten classrooms, a 20-classroom education building, and a multipurpose room that serves as the basketball gym, auditorium, and cafeteria for the campus.  All of the new buildings incorporate the iconic red-brick exterior to honor the historic nature of the school.  

Diane Kikes, a 2nd grade teacher at Central Elementary, shared her memories of the old school facility.

"The original school was built in 1938, so we had a lot of constraints.  We couldn't put anything up on the walls because there was asbestos.  The sinks didn't work.  The bathrooms didn't work.  The water fountains didn't work.”

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“Now, we have beautiful walls that we can fill with the students' work.  The sinks, bathrooms, and water fountains all work.  There's storage everywhere - and now we have a place for everything.

In the past, the students probably had more technology at home than we had at the old school.  But now, we are kind of caught up to what they have - and more.  Everyone loves the built-in technology and the smart boards - for teaching and for showing videos.”

“The design of the building creates more of a community - especially for those of us who taught in portables at the old school.  You kind of feel cut off from the school.  Yes, you go back and forth, you see people, but you don't run into people if no one comes to see you. There you are, kind of out there at the edge of the playground.  Now, it makes you feel more like a community - because we are all here together.”

The two-story design for this elementary school adds another dynamic to the student body.  Jennie Johnson, a 3rd grade teacher, shared her thoughts on the new facility.

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"I'm telling you - the kids love the new facility. Of course who wouldn't? But grades three, four, and five are upstairs!  They are having a blast because they are the older kids - and they get to be upstairs. So it's viewed as a real “step up the ladder” for them.  And the first thing that a lot of my kids said when we came in is that it’s like a high school - and they are the upper-classmen!  So we had a lot of fun with that.”

“The school is full of good memories. You know, even though I'm retiring and only here for a few more weeks, I'm glad I had a chance to be in the new school - because I was one of the ones that was out pounding the pavement and calling people saying, 'Don't forget to vote for this bond measure. We're trying to get a new school built!'  So after years and lots of hard work it's really nice to see it finally happen."

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Central School’s Principal Nancy Morgan Link was kind enough to include a special note to our entire firm.

“I wanted to share how much I ( and the people in the city of Tracy) appreciate the work that was done to make this amazing new Central School carry over traditions from the old Central School building. Central School is where “Old Tracy” went to school and I felt quite an obligation to them.

We asked for big windows, hallways, and bricks and to make the library a focal point. We got all this and a U shaped building, hallways of cement flooring, blue trim, windows with panes in them; all architecture  brought over from the old school that we just loved. They even did things like actually incorporating our old bricks and plaques in the front of the new Central School. The architect team really listened to us, and went beyond our hopes.

 This doesn’t even touch on the amazing new library, gorgeous gym, technology on the classrooms, and beautiful hallways, office and classrooms.

 Thank you so much!”

Our warmest congratulations to the Tracy Unified School District and Central Elementary School's staff, students, and community on this momentous and historic event!

Michael Isidro