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Ripon High field upgrade effort still moving forward

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POSTED December 6, 2010 3:34 a.m.

RIPON – The Stouffer Field Revitalization Project is once again alive and well.

After months of inactivity because of a busy work schedule, Ripon Community Athletic Foundation founder Stephanie Hobbs has one again dedicated herself to the task of bringing awareness and raising funds for the aging Stouffer Field.

And while the combination of overuse and years of inadequate draining have rendered the playing service almost unusable at times throughout the year, Hobbs hopes that through education, awareness and involvement the community can pull together to help make a state-of-the-art playing surface a reality for the hundreds of athletes that use it every year.

There is no more important time, she says, to complete the project than right now.

“The need to complete the Stouffer Field Revitalization Project has become urgent,” Hobbs said. “With growing demands on the school district’s budget for teacher and student resources, this will stop the bleeding of funds into the stadium maintenance which is only painting a sinking ship.”

While it serves as a prominent backdrop for passersby on adjacent Highway 99, a deeper look at the stadium reveals more pressing problems like aging bleachers, a field surface that is literally ruined if played on during or immediately following a rainstorm, and a track that has been compacted so heavily that it serves as a reservoir when the spring rain comes every year.

And the surfaces themselves can actually be dangerous for athletes.

The hard track can lead to stress fractures and shin splints for runners, and the uneven field surface serves as a challenge for football and soccer players that are susceptible to rolled ankles.

By founding the RCAF, Hobbs and a group of concerned parents want to create something in the form of a brand new facility – which will always carry the name Stouffer Field – for not only the pride of the students, but the community itself as a whole.

“No one will argue that the bleachers are dangerous and need to be replaced,” Hobbs said. “There are many grandparents and alumni who do not attend games due to the condition of the walkways and the bleachers. This is Ripon’s only stadium and has been known to be a cultural hub of our town. If revitalized, it can beautifully and safely serve our entire community for many generations.”

Work is currently under way, she said, on finding sponsors for the annual Rina’s Run fundraiser held in May. Hobbs is also working on three grant applications in an attempt to secure the funding to begin the first phase of construction – the synthetic playing surface and possibly the all-weather track.

For more information about the Ripon Community Athletic Foundation, visit www.rcafsite.com, or contact Hobbs at 599-6861. Those interested in being sponsors for the upcoming fundraiser can contact Hobbs via the organization’s website.

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