By Tom Price Jr.
Already having one of the top collections of athletic facilities in the Sequoia Division, recent renovations at Exeter Union High School promise to put them on par with the Central Section's elite.
The centerpiece of the school's facelift is the completion of the $331,600 all-weather track at Monarch Stadium. California Track and Engineering Inc. finished striping the nine-lane track this weekend, just in time for tomorrow's graduation.
"This is exciting stuff," EUHS athletic director Appolinar Marroquin said. "When[Cal Track Inc.] said they could get it done by graduation we had some questions, but I tell you what they met every deadline even with a few hiccups with weather and wind, they put in the extra work to get it done."
The installation of the track comes one year after the home-side bleachers were replaced with a new larger aluminum seating area. In addition to the track, the runway for the triple-jump and long jump has been redone and a path for the shot put has also been installed on the southwest side of the stadium. All of these functional changes will make EUHS eligible to host area and sectional meets.
In a separate project from the installation of the track, the Exeter Unified School District has invested in numerous cosmetic changes.
The battered visitors side bleachers have been refurbished using the recycled seats from the old home side bleachers. They have also added two new sets of bleachers to increase the seating capacity. In the coming days, the areas of the stadium which are not paved or landscaped will be seeded for grass.
"It's all visual," Marroquin said. "It will give us so many more options now, not only will we be able to host meets now, but we can host many more social events, things we have never had a true facility for."
Marroquin said that the stadium will seat 2,000 comfortably with plenty of rest rooms and shade.
The tennis courts at EUHS are starting to show their age and according to Marroquin, bids have already been taken on the resurfacing project. He says they range from $12,000 to $25,000 depending on the quality the school board selects.
The maintenance crew at the high school has helped keep the courts in good enough condition to host the East Sequoia League Tournament, but they have reached the recommended 10-year mark for resurfacing.
"We host our league tournament, but we have also received requests to host valley and area tournaments, but some work will have to be done before we can do that," Marroquin said. "This is probably the next project on our agenda."
A project that was originally brought to Marroquin by football coach Robert Dougherty, the obstacle course is made up of heavy-duty logs like those used in lodge construction. It was approved at a March 17 EUHSD board meeting and is expected to be completed in July.
According to Marroquin the 500 sq. ft. course will be available to all athletic teams and PE classes at EUHS. The facility, which will be located between the frosh softball field and the west side of Monarch Stadium, will also be available to citizens of Exeter and local youth athletic teams.
Cost of the course is $11,135.27 and and local donations have paid covered the entire cost.
The five-phase upgrade to Dobson Field could indirectly effect EUHS. The creation of two new softball fields, could alleviate some of the time restraints on the high school teams who share that facility with youth and city sports.
Currently all EUHS teams have to leave the facility by 5:15 p.m.
Aside from the Dobson Field expansion Marroquin said other options have been discussed that could solve their problems. One such option would be to move the varsity field to where the frosh softball field is currently located.
He said fencing and a scoreboard would be the only major costs of the project. With rest rooms and a snack bar facility from the Monarch Stadium being easily accessible from the location, he said it makes a lot of sense.