WATSONVILLE—After years of playing sports on an aging field pitted by gopher holes and rutted by time, students at E.A. Hall Middle School will soon get a new playing field.
The Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees on June 9 approved hiring a contractor to perform the work, which is expected to begin in July.
The project will include a synthetic turf field. It will cost just over $1.5 million, and will be the school’s last expenditure under Measure L, the $150 million parcel tax approved by district voters in 2012 to fund repairs and upgrades at most of the district’s facilities.
Former PVUSD Trustee Willie Yahiro, whose trustee area covers E.A. Hall, said both his kids and his wife attended the school. He says that the field project was so important to the community that it stayed on the list even after the district halved Measure L from a $300 million bond to make it more palatable for voters.
“We’re very happy with it,” he said. “It’s been a long haul, but thank heavens we’re moving forward with it.”
In a straw poll conducted at the school in August 2019, an overwhelming majority approved using the funds for a track. The PVUSD Board of Trustees approved the plans the following November, choosing a synthetic field without a track for its lower cost.
The trustees approved a proposal to share the field with Pajaro Valley Little League in March 2020.
Trustee Daniel Dodge Jr., who replaced Yahiro on the board in 2018, said the forward movement of the project comes as a relief.
Dodge said the condition of the field has not changed since he attended the school from 1994-96.
“Ever since the beginning of my campaign my goal was always to fulfill the Measure L projects that were promised to the people of Watsonville,” he said. “I am excited, proud and happy that this is finally getting done for the younger generations.”