Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

March 2, 2004 > The Thornton Decision

The Thornton Decision

Rain has been an almost constant companion of the Tri-Cities during the month of February. In many quarters it is welcome since a wet winter indicates a good snow pack in the mountains and plenty of runoff for our reservoirs. Skiiers are excited and head to the slopes every chance they get. In some places, however, rain is not a good thing.

Thornton Junior High School is on the list of facilities in the Fremont Unified School District destined for a seismic retrofit of the existing Multi-use room (MU) and the addition of another. A group of concerned teachers and parents have been working with the district to take another look at the proposed MU. The existing building is used as a regional kitchen, stage, music room, teacher's lunch room and a volleyball court. Currently, the MU can house up to 235 students, but with an enrollment of approximately 1,100, that leaves 900 kids who can literally be out in the cold and rain in inclement weather.

The need is clear; district personnel, parents and teachers agree that an additional MU is necessary for food service, assemblies and a variety of other needs. However, the $3.6 million project has been designed to build an 8,200 square foot facility and a committee of concerned citizens who have been reviewing plans have come up with a suggestion to increase the additional MU building to 12,697 square feet for the same outlay. The added space can be used to increase assembly capacity, house additional students at lunch and solve classroom space issues.

At a recent Bond Oversight Committee meeting, a presentation by parent Gabby Machuca and veteran Thornton teacher Jan Coleman-Knight, a case was made to expand the MU by modifying current plans. The committee agreed to consider this and changed their rotating schedule of meeting places so Thornton Junior High School would be quickly revisited. The next meeting of the oversight committee will be held at 7 p.m. at Thornton Jr. High School, 4357 Thornton Ave. (at Dusterberry Way) on Wednesday, March 3rd in the existing MU at the front of the campus.

The redesign of the new MU at Thornton Jr. High will be on the agenda at the next FUSD Board Meeting on Wednesday, March 10th at 6:45 p.m. Interested citizens are asked to attend and support the speakers on this subject. Organizers are asking attendees to wear a black shirt to signify support since black and gold are Thornton school colors. For more information, please contact Gaby Machuca at or at (510) 978-1657.

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