A new track and field is on its way to the 2.75-acre spot behind Fritsch Elementary School.
"I think that even though it is a school site, people throughout the community will come to use it," said Julie Dunlap, co-chairwoman of the Fritsch Playground Committee.
Crews from Nevada Lawn and Landscape, a Reno company and the lowest bidder on the project, began stripping the field of its sod last week.
"Some of this sod is 20 years old, some of it is five years old," said Mike Mitchell, the Carson City School District director of operations. "We've been replacing parts of it for years as it's needed."
A thousand yards of soil will be put down in the field, followed by an additional thousand yards of a soil mixture. The soil will raise the field slightly and create better drainage.
"Then we're going to change the slope of the topography, so water will have a place to run off instead of just stay there," Mitchell said.
Grass seed, consisting of Kentucky Bluegrass, will germinate within seven to10 days of being drill planted. The field could have a layer of green by mid-July.
Decomposed granite of a light sand color will comprise the quarter-mile 8-foot-wide track. The decomposed granite is like dirt, but not as dusty and packs better.
When complete, Fritsch's track and field will occupy more than 120,000 square feet. By comparison the similar track and field at Bordewich-Bray Elementary School is 58,000 square feet.
"The nice part is that we'll be able to use this for a Jog-A-Thon and for physical education," Dunlap said. "People in the neighborhood can come in the evenings and use it to walk or run."
Although the projected cost approaches $140,000, some of it is covered by donations of time or help. Cinderlite, for example, donated $4,000 worth of decomposed granite for the track. 1-800-GOT-JUNK is hauling away a fence ripped from the perimeter of the field.
"The kind of stuff that we're looking for are the materials for the drainage and irrigation systems," Mitchell said. "We're also looking for landscaping materials like trees, benches and other gardening stuff."
The track and field are being funded with a $45,000 community block development grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. To be chosen as a recipient, the playground committee had to show the project would benefit low- and moderate-income families.
Additional costs were covered by the school district, which kicked in $20,000 and the parent-teacher association, which contributed $30,000 from fund-raising ventures.
"We need to have this complete by the end of June," Dunlap said. "Even though the (HUD) money just became available to us, we need to use it by the end of June."
This third phase of outdoor development continues earlier work that began more than three years ago, in the fall of 2002. Since then, three pieces of playground equipment have been added. Although children played on and around the new playground equipment Wednesday afternoon, none of them entered the blocked-off field.
"You don't really realize the scope of this project until you stand out here," said Dunlap.
Future plans at Fritsch include replacing some of the 30-year-old swings and landscaping of the back area.
"We're going to keep kids off of (the new field) as long as we can," Mitchell said. "Maybe we'll let them on in October. It depends."
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