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$1.5M bid gets OK for stadium work at WRHS

It took years of discussions and workshops, and more than one set of plans.

But Weston Ranch High School will finally have its stadium field overhauled and track resurfaced, bringing the crown jewel of the school’s athletic facilities up to standard and eliminating dangerous safety hazards that have plagued athletes on the South Stockton campus for years.

On Tuesday the Manteca Unified Board of Education – with Trustee Michael Seelye absent – voted unanimously to approve a bid that will finally lead to construction at the stadium and make Weston Ranch only the second high school in the entire district to have an all-weather track surface.

“I am totally excited for Weston Ranch – I think this was much-needed and was a vision this board had several years ago,” Manteca Unified School Board President Stephen Schluer said. “I can’t wait to see this come to fruition.”

Lodi-based F&H Constructed submitted what turned out to be the winning bid for the lion’s share of the project – $1.53 million for work that will include site demolition, the clearing of grub and the existing natural grass field, the renovation of the new natural turf field with new irrigation and goal posts, the replacement of the existing decomposed granite track with an asphalt all-weather track and new field events areas.

And the project will reconfigure the way that the current field events areas are laid out in the stadium – the existing shotput area will be relocated along with a new discus cage. Improvements to existing infrastructure will be necessary for the work to be completed, and upgrades will also have to be made along paths of travel and in the restroom building to allow for enhanced accessibility.

Benyon Sports was also awarded a bid contract for $460,550 for the purchase and installation of the actual all-weather track surface that will be laid on top of the asphalt that be installed by F&H Construction.

At an original estimate of $2,501,000, the final budget of the project – which includes a $200,000 contingency – comes in at $2,382,633.

In all, 20 bid packages were distributed to companies in Northern California capable of doing the work, and a notice that invited bids was posted in a local newspaper. In all, the district received back five bids ranging from F&H’s $1.53 million up to $1,806,600 bid from Stockton-based Haggerty Construction. Neither of those bid proposals included the contingency of $200,000.

While the board has held meetings across the district about upgrading athletic facilities – and work on the Sierra High School track resurfacing was just recently completed – it has long been Weston Ranch at the forefront of the discussion due to the complexity of the gopher problem that has rendered the field and some of the adjacent practice fields a hazard for the athletes who play on them. More than one athlete has suffered injuries after stepping into a gopher hole at Weston Ranch – ranging from twisted ankles to damaged ligaments. And while the athletic programs themselves have been receptive of such proposals, it was the community itself that got behind the effort for a long-lasting fix – even going so far as to request that that the available money left in the Mello-Roos fund be put towards the project immediately.

The board had previously approved an amount of money that would have allowed the field-rehabilitation aspect of the project to move forward at both Weston Ranch and Sierra High School, but the rise in construction costs exceeded the amount of money that was allocated.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.