School district board members voted Dec. 3 to add
Phase I of two local projects that will greatly increase safety at local sports venues to the first round of Proposition Z bond fund projects.
With support from District C Trustee Scott Barnett, both an upgrade of the Dana Middle School baseball field and the multiple-use fields project at Correia Middle School were added to a lengthy list of early bond projects.
The 3.5-acre field at Dana has been home to the PLHS varsity baseball program for many years. It was dedicated David Wells Field on Feb. 20, 2010 in honor of the Pointer alum who went on to a lengthy major league career and is now a pitching coach for the team.
The field has been plagued by an uneven playing surface, gopher holes and lack of an outfield fence.
Wells has discussed helping to fund improvements at the site, one of which was to bring in groundskeepers from the San Diego Padres’ crew at Petco Park to level the surface and plant grass similar to that used there.
That will now be unnecessary, as the bond project will take care of surface leveling and installation of artificial turf, greatly reducing maintenance labor and eliminating watering costs.
“This will create a safer, upgraded facility with no more gopher holes,” Barnett said in an email to district officials.
This project is targeted to begin following the 2014 prep baseball season that ends in early June and be completed in three to four months.
The next phase of improvements will be augmented by PLHS Baseball Booster funds and community contributions. Mentioned are increased seating, a batting-cage structure, score booth and press box. All would be subject to approval by the district.
Another major hurdle in the process was cleared Dec. 9 when the City Council voted 4-0 to remove the Dana baseball field from a joint-use agreement with the city’s Park and Recreation Department.
Under the previous agreement, adult teams using the field under city permit inflicted costly damage, including broken fences and driving vehicles on to the field, leaving deep ruts.
Control of the field now rests solely with SDUSD, and field maintenance will be done by PLHS Baseball Boosters. The groundskeeper assigned by the city will divide time at other Peninsula city fields.
This was previously a major roadblock for potential contributors like Wells, and had to first be approved by the city’s Natural Resources and Culture Committee on Sept. 25 before going to full City Council.
Correia fields project funded
PLHS officials and community leaders have campaigned for the Correia project for several years. It would convert a very large and underused piece of campus land into three multi-purpose fields, all artificially turfed and permanently lined for several sports.
A baseball field already located there would be upgraded as well.
Also part of the project is a proposed two-story, 4,200-square-foot building on Valeta Street that would feature public restrooms and office space on the lower floor and a computer-equipped room above to serve as a homework and afterschool study center for area youth.
The field, currently home to the PLHS freshman AAU baseball team, is also home to many gophers, making awkward and dangerous falls by players possible. The surface is very uneven and it also has no outfield fence.
PLHS parents and coaches work to maintain this field. While Correia and PLHS students would have priority for field use during school hours and some after school events, the complex would largely be available for youth football, soccer, lacrosse and other uses.
Lighting is also being considered.
“With the Correia complex, Cleator Park, Robb Field and the Peninsula YMCA in close proximity, the Point Loma and Ocean Beach communities will have some of the best facilities for our youth available anywhere,” said PLHS athletic director John Murphy.
At a meeting two years ago, a SDUSD planner shared a proposed diagram of the project and estimated costs at $9 million.
Barnett, who attended that meeting, told the audience, “We want a facility that is safe and well-received by the community.”
While the project was moved forward in the Prop. Z process, no start date or phase information was set.