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New track at Lodi High School on agenda for school board

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Posted: Saturday, August 17, 2013 12:00 am

Improvements to the dirt track at Lodi High School could begin soon if a resolution to fund the $922,000 project passes the Lodi Unified School District Board on Tuesday.

Dave Phillips, treasurer of the Lodi Sports Foundation-Track Boosters, hopes the board will see the enthusiasm and hard work of his group and agree to get started on construction.

“We hope the school (district) will commit to building it so future funding will go to keeping it up,” said Phillips.

According to the resolution included in the agenda, the booster club will contribute $400,000, and the district will fund $522,000. However, $122,000 of that amount will be financed to the Booster Club, who will need to repay it within five years.

That will be enough to build an eight-lane, 400-meter, all-weather running track, install new long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault areas, and improve drainage.

The current track is full of mud, weeds and holes that trip up runners and cause injury. Phillips said a new track will bring more students to the team, reduce injury, improve athleticism and allow Lodi High to host track meets and bring in money.

Right now, the group has $300,000 in the bank. They have been fundraising for years to build the track in honor of Don Womble, a longtime Lodi High teacher and coach who passed away from cancer in 2010. Some donors have asked Phillips when construction will begin, since they donated more than two years ago.

“We’re looking good. It will be easier to raise money if people see the project moving forward,” said Phillips.

Greg Wright coaches track and field and is a teacher at Lodi High School. He has watched a core group of people work hard for 2 1/2 years to make this new track a reality.

“With the district, we have their attention right now,” he said. “We’re at a point financially that we’re ready, and they’re trying to improve facilities. I’m optimistic this is going to happen.”

Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com.

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