Truckee Elementary students get new playing field |

Truckee Elementary students get new playing field

Courtesy photoFifth graders demonstrate the current muddy field children play on between snow storms and rains.

Truckee Elementary students have something to look forward to when they head back to school this fall.

A new playing field.

After years of making do with the 22,000 square-foot patch of dirt – often called the “dust bowl,” “snow heap,” or “mud pit,” – it appears the school is finally poised to receive a long-awaited new field, as school board members were expected to award a bid for the project at a special meeting Wednesday, which took place after The Sierra Sun’s deadline.

The $240,000 project calls for installation of a special form of artificial “Field Turf,” which district officials hope will better withstand the wear and tear and extreme weather conditions that have been the demise of previous surfaces.

“This is a really great product and it’s really hard to distinguish from real grass,” said John Britto, Director of Facilities and Construction for the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District.

Initial work on the project began more than a year ago when growing concerns from teachers, parents and students spurred the school’s Education Specialization, or Ed. Spec., Committee to look into alternatives.

According to fifth-grade teacher Renee Arington, a vocal proponent of the new field, under current conditions teachers are forced to close off the field more days than not – after ice, snow and mud render the area unsafe to play on.

“We go through a lot of cones and caution tape around here,” she said.

In late April, Arington and several of her students went so far as to prepare a multimedia presentation dubbed, “Our Terrible Grass,” which they presented to the school board in hopes of convincing the district to move forward with proposed plans for field replacement.

Several months before in February, the Ed. Spec. Committee took a “field trip” to view the various alternatives and surfaces, and found “Field Turf” to be the most desirable option.

“Although the project is not cheap, it’s something that is definitely important,” Britto said of the project.

Measure C will be picking up the tab.

“It will definitely give students more days of playing time, as we’ll be able to get them back out on [the field] earlier in the spring, and possibly even during the bad winter months.”

Britto said he hopes to begin work on the field as soon as possible, although it’s likely that installation won’t take place until a few weeks after classes resume.

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