Almanac

Schools - March 13, 2013

Further delay in opening Hillview field

by Renee Batti

The games must go on, in spite of the continued delay in opening the Hillview Middle School playing field, which had been booked by the Menlo-Atherton Grizzlies Lacrosse Club for season-opening games on March 2 and 3, and subsequent games.

The youth lacrosse organization ended up opening its season at an alternative site, but officials had hoped that the field, originally scheduled for completion last December, would be ready for games the following weekend, March 9 and 10. That didn't happen, but the club was able to negotiate for field space with several other sports organizations to play both Saturday and Sunday games, according to the club's executive director, MJ Davey.

The Menlo Park City School District's point person on the playing field construction project, Ahmad Sheikholeslami, said in early March that the district was working "as hard as we can to get the field open on the 9th." But last week, he said that soft soil was detected under a portion of the artificial turf, "and we're trying to determine why that is."

At this point, though, "we don't have all the information ... and we don't have confirmation from the contractor as to how they plan to repair it," he said, adding that the contractor is still analyzing options.

Will the field be open by next weekend? Mr. Sheikholeslami said it's possible, but uncertain. "We've got to get it right, and we're going to get it right," he said.

Meanwhile, the lacrosse club "had a lot of support from M-A High School Athletics" and rented the high school's turf field for its games last Saturday, Ms. Davey said. The club also negotiated space with Alpine Strikers Soccer and AYSO to play its Sunday games at Kelly Field in Menlo Park, she said.

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