Almanac

Schools - March 6, 2013

School district near finish line on Hillview playing field

by Renee Batti

The school district and city are racing against the clock to try to open the new Hillview Middle School playing field by this weekend, allowing local lacrosse teams to use the field as scheduled and wrapping up a project originally expected to be completed by last Dec. 1.

"We're working as hard as we can to get the field open on the 9th," said Ahmad Sheikholeslami, the director of facility planning and construction for the Menlo Park City School District. "We're doing finishing touches and resolving issues."

Those issues include firming up a post-event trash-collection process and ensuring restroom access, according to Chip Taylor, Menlo Park's director of public works. The city has partially funded the field and will share its use for its own after-school recreation program.

In addition to lacrosse, AYSO soccer and Menlo Park Strikers soccer teams are scheduled to use the field through the whole of spring, according to Tedd Zeo of the city's recreation department.

As of last week, crews worked to lay down striping on the basketball courts and the synthetic playing field, and finalized work on the rubberized running track encircling the field.

The Menlo-Atherton Grizzlies Lacrosse Club was scheduled to use the field on March 2 and 3, but was able to move the games elsewhere for that weekend, the club's assistant coach, Erik Lundh, said in an email to the City Council in mid-February. But he appealed to the council "to prioritize the completion of the ... field project within the Public Works department" so the club could begin to use it on March 9.

"Our club would like to offer our volunteer services to help with trash, bathroom maintenance or any other required services that need to be in place (by that time). If renting a port-a-potty is an option, we can do that as well," he wrote.

Mr. Sheikholeslami said bad weather in November and December "was a big contributing factor" in the long delay. He expects that the work will be completed within budget, he said.

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