By Miguel A. Melendez
PASADENA – Public school officials in Pasadena will begin taking bids next week for work related to $2 million in renovations to track and field facilities at John Muir High and Pasadena High schools.
Each campus will receive $1 million in funding from Measure TT – the $350 million school-improvement bond voters approved in November – to upgrade their aging athletic fields. Construction could begin as early as the end of this month, with completion projected for late August, officials said.
“It’s hard to believe they’re going to get it done,” said Muir football coach Ken Howard. “When I see it I’ll believe it. But when I see them out there, I’m going to grab a shovel and ask them how I can help.”
The initial $1 million is considered seed money; each project will cost an additional $1 million to complete. But officials at Muir and PHS say they’re confident they can raise the balance through donations and fund-raising efforts.
“When the alumni see what’s going on here, they’re going to want to donate,” Howard said. “Building these fields at both schools will be good for the kids and the community.”
Each school will receive a new synthetic turf field and track. The Pasadena Unified School District has already selected the company that will install the synthetic turf and will begin taking bids next Monday for the installation of the track portion.
Philadelphia-based Sprinturf Synthetic Turf Systems will install “Ultrablade MM” – a synthetic turf that is about 2 1/2 inches thick and contains “cool fill” beads to help keep the surface cooler. The company installed the turf field at Gabrielino High School in San Gabriel.
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Muir and PHS official said they’ll move forward with the projects, even before securing the additional $1 million needed to complete the work.
“We’re going to go ahead if we don’t have the other 50 percent in-house,” said Steve Brinkman, chief of facilities for the PUSD. “But we’re understanding we’re going to raise that over time. That’s just the beginning of the process. Each school will begin a fund-raising campaign for whatever else they want.”
The long-term goal calls for each school to have a complete stadium complex, with permanent stands, restrooms, locker rooms and concession stands.
Last Wednesday, the two schools were granted $75,000 each from California Integrated Waste Management Board for using recycled California rubber in the infield and track.
Each school also has applied for a $60,000 water conservation grant – the fields won’t need nearly as much water as real grass – from the Pasadena Water and Power Department. Approval is pending.
Eight months ago, Muir received a $500,000 donation from AYSO. PHS is close to receiving a $500,000 donation from a private donor, putting both schools half-way toward their $1 million funding goals.
As it stands now, both schools use athletic fields at Pasadena City College for some football games and track events. When the fields are completed, PHS will play its first homegame in football ever on its own field.
“We can do so many things here,” said Muir track coach Jacques Sallberg. “We could even host the Pasadena Games.”
While the upgrades have long been needed, Sallberg felt a bit of nostalgia for the old dirt and grass field and running track.
“I’m going to miss it. Blood, sweat and tears were poured onto this field,” he said.
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