Though school facilities and recreation areas are currently closed to the public, the Cloverdale High School track and field is about to be busy. As the first part of the school district’s Measure H construction, crews have stripped the field to prepare it for synthetic turf installation.
The Cloverdale Unified School District (CUSD) Board of Trustees voted to move forward with construction on the track and field project on April 3. Construction crews were out in the area on April 6, and broke ground on April 10.
To continue construction on the project, as well as to potentially start construction on the district’s other Measure H projects in a few months, the school board had to deem the projects “essential,” and give direction that allows them to move forward during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was there at the job site this morning for a meeting and I have to say it was a little amusing to see all of these subcontractors in a circle standing 10 feet apart and yelling at each other,” said Lisa Ledet, project manager for Van Pelt Construction Services, who the district has contracted with to do its Measure H updates. Ledet gave an update to the district board about the project on April 10.
“They mobilized on Monday and were ready to go, but the actual dirt digging started today,” Ledet said, noting that during the interim few days, the contractor had to have pre- construction meetings with inspectors before they started the job.
As outlined in a board meeting on Oct. 23, 2019, the renovated CHS field area will have a seven-lane track, maintaining the six lanes required for competitions with one additional lane that can be used by the school to reduce overall wear. The football field is also redone, with turf taking the place of the aged grass that the field had.
As of the meeting, Ledet said that the contractor said that both the delivery time for the turf and the field lights are on schedule.
To break ground or not break ground (this year)
At the board meeting on April 3, the district had to weigh the pros and cons of beginning the project with the knowledge that it may get delayed due to potential supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. If the board had decided not to start the project, it would be put off for another year, putting the kibosh on another track season and having to relocate another graduation ceremony.
“I think a couple weeks and maybe even a month in the fall is way less painful than not having another track season next spring, because it will mean two missed track seasons for sure if we don’t do it now,” trustee Preston Addison said during the April 3 meeting.
Should the project get delayed a few months during summer construction this year, the track and field may be unusable until after school is in session in the fall. That could jeopardize home football games, trustee Todd Lands said, noting that home games bring in money that helps fund non-football sports programs as well.
“I want as much normalcy as we can with these kids,” Lands said. “Now, if they have no soccer, no cross country and no football,” it would have a bigger impact.
Football coach Greg Alexander said that Cloverdale has only three home games next season, with the first one on Oct. 9, which gives some leeway for potential delays.
Ultimately, the board voted 3-1 to continue on with the project this year, with Lands voting to hold wait.
The two other main Measure H projects the district has been working on include constructing a new gymnasium building at Washington School, and a new classroom building at Jefferson Elementary.
The project plans for both buildings have been submitted to the Division of the State Architect (DSA), and Ledet said that Van Pelt expects to receive comments on the Washington plans soon. The comments for the Jefferson plans are expected around June.
“With this coronavirus situation DSA, like everyone else, is working remotely and I would say that everything is taking a little bit longer,” Ledet said. “We’re hoping that things will progress and that we’ll be able to get that started, but there’s no way for us to predict when that will happen.”
As the projects progress, Ledet said that she will keep the school board apprised of any potential delays or schedule changes that may arise.