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Move afoot to raise funds for all-weather track at Sierra High
Sierra High’s brick project will allow community members, alumni, and businesses, for a donation, to post their names or special messages in the area of the Daniel Teicheira Memorial. The fundraiser is the brainchild of Sharon Amick. She’s joined by SHS athletic director Greg Leland and track coach Anthony Chapman. Not pictured is project committee member Don Widmer. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO
In recent months, the Sierra High track has serviced the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, Manteca Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Manteca Senior Games, and the MUST events, to name a few.

Come next spring, the dirt surface at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium could be replaced by a nine-lane, all-weather synthetic track.

Last Tuesday, the Manteca Unified school board approved the specifications and working details for the project, clearing the way for the solicitation of bids.

Greg Leland, Sierra High’s athletic director, said Friday that a bid could be awarded to the lowest bidder by the July 28 board meeting.

 He estimates that if all goes accordingly, ground-breaking for the project could take place in August and possibly completed by November.

“We’ve had people here using our (dirt) track,” Leland said. “The difference between that and the all-weather is like night and day.”

The grassroots stages of the project began nearly three years ago. During that span, Leland and a group consisting of Sierra High track coach Anthony Chapman, and community members Don Widmer and Sharon Amick worked under the radar to make this dream a possibility.

Amick, for example, came up with idea of the Brick Project benefiting the track along with stadium beautification.

The bricks come in two sizes – 4 by 8 inches and 8 by 8 – allowing those who make a purchase to post names or messages.

“It could even be the name of a kid who is graduating,” she said.

These bricks will then be placed on the wall situated at the Daniel Teicheira memorial.

“So far, sales have been in-house,” said Amick, who is currently working to reach businesses as well as the community.

Donations, in fact, will be the key towards funding the estimated $509,364 project.

Chapman indicated that one of the grants is environmentally-friendly, consisting of some 2,500 old tires to be recycled and used as part of the track surface.

MUST – the non-profit Manteca Unified Student Trust – will kick in $500 and the SHS Grant could account for another $45,840.

Donations are expected to cover a portion of the expenses with funds from Mello-Roos making up for the difference.

“The all-weather track will benefit not just Sierra but also the community,” Chapman said.

This includes bringing in the Tom Moore Relays from Modesto and hosting various activities from the Manteca Parks and Recreation Department.

This area of the Central Valley has very few all-weather tracks, with Leland noting that the closest ones to Manteca, for public use, at Modesto Junior College or Delta College.

Currently, Oakdale and Sonora are only two Valley Oak League schools with the synthetic track surfaces. Oakdale hosted the last two league meets.

The VOL meet could soon come to Sierra, thus, further benefitting the community.

“This project has a lot of positives,” said Chapman, who added that the football field will continue to be that of a natural grass surface.