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New track and field under construction at Avery Middle School

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Students at Avery Middle School will soon be able to recreate on a brand new track and field.

“We are very excited to have this project underway to provide a safe training environment for our students,” Vallecito Union School District (VUSD) Superintendent James Frost said in a press release.

The new track and field was made possible by the passage of Measure I, which authorized the district to issue up to $2.8 million in bonds for various projects. Voters overwhelmingly approved the measure last November by a margin of 65.2% to 34.8%.

“The original track was installed more than 20 years ago and safety issues related to the deterioration of the track product and gopher damage made the track virtually unusable,” the release reads.

On March 8, the construction process got underway with a staging meeting held at the school by Hellas Construction.

“Hellas Construction is one of the premier track and field companies installing track and fields throughout the nation, including college stadiums and professional sporting venues,” the release reads. “The project is expected to take three months with an anticipated finish date of June 15, 2021.”

The new facility has been named the Ed Martin Track and Field.

“The new track will be named to honor longtime Avery teacher, Ed Martin, who was a fixture on the sports circuit at Avery Middle School mentoring thousands of students in his 30-year career,” the release reads. “Mr. Martin retired last year, and the District Board of Trustees named the track in his honor as a tribute for his impact on impressing the importance of sports to build resilience and character in youth.”

The artificial field will be much easier to maintain, and there will be significant savings in water costs.

“The new design build fields have padded layers built in that provide significant protection for students and the upkeep of the field is very manageable, not requiring mowing or watering,” Frost said. “There is some maintenance involved, but overall, this should provide a safer training surface for our students and allow us to refocus maintenance staff resources to other areas as needed.”

The installation of the track and field is the first of multiple projects to be carried out with funding from Measure I. Other projects include significant painting, shade structure installation and additional turf work at all three school sites in the district.

“We are grateful to the voters for their on-going support for providing excellent school facilities for our children,” Frost said.

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Reporter

Noah Berner has lived in Calaveras County most of his life, and graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in history.

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