An Ongoing Turf War

With Cam High’s new turf field about to break ground, the track team is concerned about the impact the upcoming construction will have on training, competitions, and the condition of the track next season.

The new field construction is scheduled to begin on March 1 and continue on through the track season (February to May), rendering both the track and football field unusable. As a result, the Cam High Track and Field team, the largest on campus, must hold practices and meets at another location for the entirety of the 2015 season.

Some possible alternative locations include Moorpark or Oxnard Colleges.”The school will have to bus over 250 athletes there everyday,” said Nikolas Vankeersblick, senior.

Camarillo residents and local youth programs, such as the Camarillo Cosmos Track Club, will be unable to use the track during this time as well.

The ACHS Booster Club has been raising funds for both a new track and turf field since late last year, but currently, only the football field is scheduled to be replaced.

Several members of the Track and Field team are voicing complaints and even claiming “false advertisement” on the part of the Booster Club, with the club’s “Turf Field” page stating that “[they will] turf the stadium, athletic field; resurface the track, and turf the practice fields” as part of the campaign to renovate the lower area.

Some students are questioning the priority placed on the field, as opposed to the “more often used” track. “From what I understand, P.E. [Physical Education] students use the track more, but in its current state, the track feels like concrete and it hurts to run on,” said Jared Angcanan, senior. “P.E. students don’t typically use the fields that often.”

Price is another factor weighing in, with the turf field costs amounting to $900,000 compared to the $300,000 price of the track, according to the Scorpion Athletic Booster Club FAQ.  However, the school will receive a partial discount if the turf is installed straightaway, due to new legislation concerning water conservation.

“The turf needs to be replaced now, because there is a water rebate in effect for Southern California,” said Ms. Mary Perez, Athletics Director. One company has contracted to pay the school $2 per yard of turf replaced, while another company is willing to pay $1 per yard of turf replaced, totaling in $300 thousand dollars saved in installation costs for the school.

Perez also said that the new turf will not have an effect on the size of the track team.

Hellas Construction company will be in charge of removing the old field and installing the new one. To accomplish this task, they will need to operate “heavy machinery” over the track to reach the field.

“The condition of our track [will be] even worse,” said Vankeersblick. “Our track is over seven years past its expiration date already.”

Several Cam High residents, particularly Track and Field runners, have organized a petition to delay construction until the 2015 track season is over.

Ethan Chen, junior and track and field runner, started the petition to “delay the construction until summer when the programs will be minimally disrupted,” according to their Facebook page. The petition became active just after the start of the new year.

Despite some students’ skepticism of constructing the turf field first, students from other school sports programs that do use the field find it to be beneficial. “I think the turf is a good idea because it is going to benefit the marching band kids,” said Melissa Arreguin, junior. “The football team always tears up the field, and we cannot see the yard lines to march.”

With the substantial amount of the field’s wear-and-tear due to its year-round use by the football, soccer, and marching band programs, many students and advisers said that Cam High would benefit more from having a turf field over a new track. “The field is more important because it has to be replaced every year,” said Daniel Griffith, junior and goalie for Cam High’s junior varsity soccer team. “[All] we have now is just dirt and mud.”

The Stinger will continue to follow this story.