Dreams of field could become reality

February 19, 2003 11:00 pm

By SCOTT PESZNECKER

Last March, Karen Turner and a contingent of parents asked that the Mark Twain Union Elementary School District pay to renovate the playing field at Copperopolis Elementary School.

Next month, the district board might have an answer for them.

The field project — which would require basically starting from scratch — will be on the board's agenda when it meets at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 13, at Mark Twain Union Elementary School in Angels Camp.

At the board's meeting last week, the field came up for discussion, and trustees said they support the idea as long as the district can afford it.

"There's no reason why we can't do it," said Turner, a Copperopolis resident and president of the school's Parent Teacher Club.

Parents have long said the school's field needs renovations. They have said it poses a safety hazard to students because the grass comes up in clumps and the ground is uneven.

Also, the field dries up in the hot summer months. Turner said the existing irrigation lines — even before they were severed a couple years ago by heavy construction equipment — couldn't carry adequate water to the field.

Even Rick Brewer, district superintendent, said the field as it is now, "is a mess."

Soon after Brewer took over as superintendent in June, he and the board included the field project among goals for this year.

"It's a project that apparently was not done right the first time," Brewer said.

Brewer estimated the project — based on prevailing wages — would cost about $225,000, and would include tearing out existing grass and replanting.

The district would probably borrow the money, Brewer said, then pay it back through developer fees.

But Turner said the district can probably save up to $25,000, and possibly more. Several Calaveras County residents, she said, have already volunteered to donate work or supplies.

Right now, the sometimes-green field has no specific use, such as baseball, soccer or track.