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MUSD board aims for high school parity
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A stadium standard is in the works for Manteca Unified high school campuses.
In the coming months community input is being sought by the school board to help develop a template for eventual track and field surfaces for the five existing comprehensive high schools and future campuses such as the proposed high school in South Manteca on Tinnin Road.
The first study session will seek input from the Weston Ranch community, the second from the Sierra High and Lathrop High communities, and the third from the Manteca High and East Union High communities.
The board’s push for a stadium standard is for parity among the campuses.
The effort has two facets — design and funding.
Public input is being sought for the design. The three options being considered are:
usynthetic turf field and decomposed granite track.
uall-weather track and renovated natural turf field.
usynthetic turf field and all-weather track.
Manteca Unified School District Superintendent Jason Messer noted the conversation will be all inclusive.
“What design is finally chosen could (preclude) using the stadium for some things,” Messer said.
He pointed to Bret Harte High where — after they installed synthetic turf — school officials realized the community couldn’t hold the 24-Hour Relay for Life on it as the event included participants drinking soda that would be detrimental to the artificial turf.
Messer noted things like the Every 15 Minutes simulated car crash could become dicey as the vehicles used might damage an all-weather track.
Besides assessing the pros and cons of each option not just based on impacts on football, soccer, and track as well as youth sports use, it will also cover everything else a school stadium could be used for by both the school and the community.
Messer made it clear Measure M or Measure G bond money would not be used for field and track surface improvements. Staff is also advising the board not to touch general fund money intended for year-to-year operations. They also want to avoid any financing that would incur debt obligations.
District staff is exploring other options including Mell-Roos taxes and fees paid by developers for new homes.
And after the design standard is determined and potential funding sources identified, there is another exercise that would need to be done — opportunity cost.
Messer said the board would have to weigh what they would need to sacrifice or delay doing with the money that stadium turf and track upgrades would cost. It could mean bumping elementary level playground equipment improvements or shelving high school projects for other activities such as the performing arts.