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Manteca Unified aims for parity for high school fields

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POSTED January 5, 2018 1:17 a.m.

The disparity between sports fields amongst Manteca Unified’s comprehensive high schools could be a thing of the past if the board approves a new document that will adopt districtwide rules on how fields are used and maintained.
The athletic fields handbook – which was introduced at the board’s last meeting and will be considered again when trustees meet later this month – will replace, if approved, the longstanding practice of maintaining fields on an individual, as-needed basis at each of the district’s five high schools.
The problem with the way that fields were maintained in the past was that the system didn’t provide oversight or monitoring as to how fields were being utilized both on campus and from off-campus groups, and overuse would lead to damage that would require costly repairs and long periods of closure.
The new policies would create a concrete chain of personnel that would routinely have to sign off on the condition of the fields so that appropriate steps can be taken to monitor them and ensure that they’re being utilized effectively. Also, once a year the district staffers tasked with maintenance of the facilities – the Director of Operation and the Supervisor of Grounds, Fields and Landscaping – will now met with the principal and vice principal assigned to athletics to determine which fields on the school site are being used for athletic purposes so that they can receive support from both site personnel and district personnel.
It will still be the responsibility of the individual site administrator to oversee the upkeep of landscaped areas that are not used for athletic events or training purposes.
And within the next five years, every high school is going to have a new field that needs to be maintained.
As part of the new master plan, Sierra and Weston Ranch High Schools will be first up for a new hybrid grass turf field for their stadiums – a decision made based on the poor condition of the field at Weston Ranch and safety concerns about the high crown at the stadium field at Sierra High.
Each of the district’s other three high schools would then be in line for surface replacements of their own – the district leaning towards natural turf fields over synthetic surfaces because of the massive costs of the infrastructure and drainage needed.
Whether the board will make the investment into synthetic tracks at the high school or use decomposed granite will be made at a future meeting. The board requested that additional financial numbers be brought back to them before any formal decision on the matter was made.

 To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.

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