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111318 LUSD board meeting

Ginger Salazar, a member of the committee raising funds for the remodel of Lompoc's Huyck Stadium, speaks to the Lompoc Unified School District board of education on Tuesday night as supporters of the remodel effort stand behind her.

The committee behind the proposal to upgrade and remodel Lompoc’s Huyck Stadium provided some encouraging news Tuesday to local school leaders.

Several of the people behind the Campaign for the Lompoc Community Track & Field, which was launched this year to raise funds for the stadium project, attended Tuesday evening’s meeting of the Lompoc Unified School District board of education to provide a brief, though notable, status report. The highlight of that update: The committee had “reached and exceeded” its fundraising goal of $1.2 million, said Ashley Costa, the executive director of the Lompoc Valley Community Healthcare Organization (LVCHO), which initially proposed the project.

All told, the committee members reported that they had raised $1.35 million and will continue to fundraise for contingency costs and other aspects of the project. LUSD leaders have already pledged to contribute another $1.2 million toward the remodel.

“I am beyond excited and pleased with how well our campaign has progressed, and [I] believe it is a testament to the overwhelming community dedication and support,” Costa said to the LUSD board members.

“Further evidence of that dedication and support,” she later added, “is that over 155 individual foundation, family, business and organizational donors have given or pledged to make this project a reality.”

The project, which was first proposed by Costa and the LVCHO in February 2017, is slated to primarily involve converting the natural grass field at the stadium to synthetic turf, switching the track from its loose red clay to a synthetic “all-weather” surface, and reconfiguring the track to meet modern CIF standards.

The fundraising campaign kicked off in earnest this past February, when the committee formally accepted a $450,000 donation from the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation. Since then, according to the committee, the project has received support from throughout the region, including several Santa Barbara-based organizations.

Ginger Salazar, a Lompoc High School alumna and campaign volunteer who is leading foundation fundraising, told the LUSD board Tuesday that the district’s $1.2 million pledge has been critical in getting other foundations and organizations to jump on board.

“One of the first questions they’ve asked us in grant proposals and in conversations we’ve had is, ‘What’s the community putting in?’” Salazar told the board members. “So your leadership commitment of $1.2 million has been foundational to our being able to go out and raise the money.”

Salazar revealed that one such Santa Barbara-based organization — she didn’t specify which — recently pledged $125,000 to go toward the planned second phase of the project, which will include the addition of a community exercise zone at the stadium.

Costa noted in her presentation that the group will continue to solicit funds to offset any potential overruns.

One of the ways the LVCHO is raising funds is by selling engraved bricks that it plans to use on the walkway in the stadium's main entrance. Those bricks, which vary in size and can be used to memorialize or recognize a family member, athlete or business, range in cost from $150 to $1,010.

The deadline to purchase a brick is Dec. 1, and more information can be found at http://lompoctrackandfield.com or by calling 805-736-4509.

“We understand that with any large construction project there are incremental cost increases here and there and we want to make sure we are covering the entirety of our portion for the track and field project,” Costa said.

In other, unrelated, matters at Tuesday’s LUSD board meeting:

  • The board voted 5-0 to approve a trip to Philadelphia for Doug Sorum and Sam Blanton, who work in the district’s maintenance department, to receive turf and artificial turf training at Lincoln Financial Field, the home of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles. The cost of the trip is expected to be about $3,216, and, according to the district’s staff report, it will “deepen [the attendees’] understanding of ongoing turf maintenance and wire gopher meshing in order to be proactive in taking care of the district’s” grounds.
  • The board voted unanimously to approve girls wrestling teams at both Lompoc and Cabrillo high schools. Previously, girl wrestlers were members of the boys teams, or independent participants with CIF approval, and would often wrestle against other boys at meets.
  • The board voted 5-0 to approve the Cabrillo High School baseball team’s planned spring break trip to Kansas City, Missouri. That trip is set to be funded almost entirely by Danny Duffy, a Cabrillo High School alumnus and Major League Baseball pitcher for the Kansas City Royals.

The next regular meeting of the LUSD board of education is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Education Center Board Room, 1301 North A St. That gathering will be the board’s last regular meeting of 2018.

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Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.

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