Community calls for field at E.A. Hall

Former PVUSD Trustee Willie Yahiro places a colored sticky dot on the back of a poster depicting a proposed athletic field for E.A. Hall Middle School. The dot was Yahiro's vote for that project. — Todd Guild/The Pajaronian

Issue moves to school council, PV trustees for approval

WATSONVILLE — The community has voted, and it was a landslide.

More than 100 people packed the auditorium at E.A. Hall Middle School Tuesday night to have their say on how the school should spend $2.2 million it has remaining in Measure L funds.

On the ballot were three options, the first of which was upgrading 16 aging classrooms.

There was no dispute about the importance of that option. The school has seen little improvement work since it was built nearly eight decades ago.

“The classrooms are in desperate need of overhaul,” said Jimmy Dutra.

The other two options addressed the school’s athletic field, which has been rendered nearly unusable by numerous gopher holes.

To vote, the attendees were asked to place a small, round colored sticker on the photo of the option they wanted.

While a handful of people wanted option 2, which is a field with a track surrounding it, that option did not garner many votes because construction would displace the school’s Migrant Head Start program.

With scores of colorful stickers, a vast majority of people showed their support for option 3, a rectangular field with synthetic turf, which at $1.92 million is the least expensive option.

“This is what the funds were originally supposed to go for,” said Allen Bjur, as he placed his sticker on option 3.

Measure L is a $150 million bond passed by voters in 2012. It was created to fund construction, repair and maintenance projects throughout the Pajaro Valley Unified School District.

Now that the community has had its say, school officials will count online votes and votes from E.A. Hall students.

The issue will then go to the school site council for a vote, and then to the PVUSD Board of Trustees.

PVUSD Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Instruction Kristen Shouse said she expects that to happen by November.

If the trustees approve the field, it is not clear when construction would begin, PVUSD spokeswoman Alicia Jimenez said.

School districts typically put large-scale projects out to bid.

Jimenez said the district hopes to accelerate the process to allow it to start in summer 2020.

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