If you’ve found yourself at Marengo Ranch Elementary School in recent months, it’s as likely that you’ve seen as many construction crews and scaffolding as students and school buses. Since early 2019, the school buildings have been undergoing repair and reconstruction to address concerns such as the bricks that were falling off the building facades and other structural concerns, the result of improper construction when the school was first built in 1997.

“It was about five years ago that we first started seeing some problems,” said Lois Yount, Director of Business Services for the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District, adding that the first sign of damage was cracking in the stucco and the brick pillars. “And then it was probably less than a year or two after we noticed the cracks in the brick pillars that bricks actually started falling off.”

The bricks were temporarily secured with plywood to prevent any injuries in case they fell off, but it was clear the school was in need of serious repairs.

When the Measure K facility bond was passed in November 2016, a portion of the $19.7 million was designated for the reconstruction that was needed at Marengo Ranch Elementary School. The contract cost is $7,417,416 and the district is currently applying for State Facility Hardship Funds that would reimburse some of that amount.

Aside from addressing the failing facade, the project will replace the fire alarm and intrusion alarm systems, modernize the restrooms, repair dry rot in portable classrooms, repair roofs where needed, and more.

Over the summer, construction crews focused on several high-traffic buildings, like the administration and multipurpose buildings, which would have been nearly impossible to shut down during the school year. As construction continues during the school year, classrooms will be relocated to temporary rooms for several months at a time to minimize the disruption.

The students, however, don’t seem to be troubled by the construction. According to Yount, they have expressed interest and curiosity in the school’s transformation and the work that is being done.

“The construction crew has been so great,” Yount said, explaining that the superintendent of the project was asked to talk to a kindergarten class because the kids were so curious about what the construction crew was doing. “At the end of the year, they always do a project in kindergarten on what they want to do when they grow up, and the teacher said this is the first year that they’ve had four or five kids who said they wanted to be construction workers.”

School starts again tomorrow, Aug. 15, and the project, which started February 2019, is anticipated to be completed in April 2020.