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Paly Track resurfacing and new gates

Original post made by Jim H> on Jun 24, 2013

Why is Paly resurfacing the track already. It's less than 10 years old. It was in excellent shape, why did they feel the need to spend money to re-do a perfectly nice track. From what I've read, those tracks should last 15-20 years. Seems like a waste of money.

Also, along with the new giant tower they've erected, there's another "gateway" entrance feature. Are these both needed. And it looks like they plan to lock the gates so no one can use the facilities. They did the same thing with the baseball/softball fields.

I understand these are school facilities, but aren't they also a public benefit and funded by public monies?

Looks like they're taking their money and then not letting anyone else play with their toys.

Comments (21)

Posted by Fred, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 24, 2013 at 8:40 pm

I don't know anything about the track, but with regard to ball fields, generally newer/nicer facilities are fenced in and locked to prevent vandalism and field damage. There should be a sign (there is at Gunn) indicating that the field is available for general use for a small use fee ($30/hour maybe?) by arrangement with the school athletic director. The high school softball and baseball fields are well used by adult and youth leagues. There are "open" (no use fee) softball fields at Cubberly, Terman, and the Baylands.


Posted by Chris Kenrick, Palo Alto Weekly Staff Writer, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 25, 2013 at 9:50 am

Jim H>:

Here's a description of the bond-funded projects related to the Paly field, as approved by the Board of Education at various planning milestones: Web Link

The new tower is part of a "master plan" that's intended to better integrate the field with the rest of the campus, once the other new building is completed and portables removed from the quad, etc. For more details you should ask Bob Golton, who's managing the bond program and has a grasp of the many elements.

I have not heard about a plan to lock the gates but if you have, please let me know.




Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 25, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Track refurb was planned as an impact item from the state mandated remodel of the Paly football "stadium" bleachers. Damage to the track due to construction work.

The new entry and concessions area are part of the master plan to create a new entry plaza for the school's athletic facilities (including the new gyms). Part of the overall campus landscaping master plan as well. Concessions space had become too small for meal preparation and sales, including cold and dry storage. Average gross sales is more than $10K for most home football games. Profits are divided between the sports boosters general fund and the teams/parents/volunteers that run the concessions that night (rotated).

BTW - Stanford football parking is another money maker --- and is shared with Gunn. Paly also hosts an annual golf tournament and Christmas Tree Lot to raise $$$ for sports boosters.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 25, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Just to be clear - track renovation was also required due new alignment issues due to impact of new bleachers.

The teams (not the parents or volunteers) receive their portion of the profits as a deposit into their team booster account.

$10K+ sales per game, not per season.

Booster funds pay for uniforms, referees, travel, coaches' stipends, game equipment (markers, scoreboards, timing equipment, field set up), safety equipment, league entry fees, tournament entry fees, scholarships for students who can't afford the participation fees, etc.


Posted by Remember When?, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 25, 2013 at 5:10 pm

When I went to Paly, we were supposed to get a new soccer field. The district claimed it ran out of money in 1990, so the project, for which ground had been already broken, was put on hold. Long after I graduated, the school got the soccer field, but by then, time and the weather had ruined the surface that had already been graded and prepared, so the construction crew had to start again from scratch. That put the project over budget immediately. And this was in the heyday of the district!

PAUSD and Paly sure know how to waste money! I have run on the track. It obviously never got the upkeep and maintenance required during the Great Recession, so now it needs work. It should have lasted 20 years at least. The other proposed projects are totally unnecessary. But, hey, they sure are good at wasting money on non-academic stuff!


Posted by Tartan, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 25, 2013 at 8:31 pm

" It should have lasted 20 years at least."

No, all-weather tracks are typically resurfaced every 7-10 years.


Posted by Paly Alum, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 25, 2013 at 11:10 pm

Okay, you academic snobs. I guess you would rather the school appear trashy with run-down facilities to prove that we intellectuals care only about academics, NOT sports.

We can have both, as we have sports teams which perform well frequently. Parents from other school districts often note that our sports teams at Paly are successful. "Why is it they do so well when they cannot offer scholarships to athletes?" they have asked.


Posted by village fool, a resident of another community
on Jun 25, 2013 at 11:55 pm

@Tartan: Given your input - Do I understand correctly that Gunn's track will be due for resurfacing in short couple of years, or so? any info about possible long term damage caused by eggs?


Posted by eggs again, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2013 at 12:03 am

The eggs damaged the track when the track was less than two months old.....still running on the egg residue three years later.


Posted by Tartan, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 26, 2013 at 9:02 am

"Do I understand correctly that Gunn's track will be due for resurfacing in short couple of years"

Gunn's track was resurfaced when they installed the turf field about four years ago. That was about eight years after it was initially installed. The damage from the eggs was mostly cosmetic. It will probably be due for resurfacing in a few years, but as long as the foundation is sound, resurfacing is much less expensive than installing an entirely new track.

For reference, the track at Buchanan High School in Clovis, the site of the state championships, was first installed in 1999 and has been resurfaced in 2007 and 2012.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 26, 2013 at 11:13 am

On the football "stadium" - Gunn upgraded their football stadium only a few years ago. Beautiful job, with the bleachers nestled into berms on each side of the field. Nice concessions too.

Paly's home bleachers were made of wood (failing) and were not ADA compliant. The visitor bleachers were aluminum but did not meet current ADA standards either. Plus the bleachers did not meet other safety standards such as railings on the aisles, etc. Lastly, neither sets of bleachers were large enough to accommodate the level of attendance Paly has been experiencing over the last 10 years. Same issue for concessions.

The Paly football stadium would have been rebuilt several years ago except the initial design was completely tone-deaf to the community's affiliation and affection for mature trees. Recall the uproar when the initial proposal called for removing a majority of the trees that line the Churchill entrance into the facility.


Posted by Jim H., a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 26, 2013 at 1:50 pm

@ Paly Alum:
I don't think you're suggesting that the success of the sports teams is due to the facilities, are you? Paly's had State Championship Basketball and volleyball teams in their box of a gym as well as horrible softball and soccer teams on their brand new fields.

The add-ons to the stadium project, which include the "trellis structure" , a new scoreboard, gateway and upgraded fencing, a new sound system as well as pavers, added another $293K to the project.

Yes, it looks nice, but that money could go to other things, not necessarily in the classroom, around the district. Too much concern is given to appearances.


Posted by eggs again, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2013 at 2:07 pm

@ Crescent Park Dad who said, "On the football "stadium" - Gunn upgraded their football stadium only a few years ago. Beautiful job, with the bleachers nestled into berms on each side of the field. Nice concessions too."

While Paly has had a full concession area which you feel is not big enough, Gunn has never had a concession. The district actually stopped volunteers that were trying to put an ice machine and refrigerator in the field house and they actually confiscated the donated equipment. Gunn does not even have running water (bathrooms do have cold water). Gunn has run their concessions by putting up tents and outdoor grills, fryers etc. Nothing is permanent. If we want water or ice, we haul it over from the main campus. We are now bringing in food trucks to help.

Gunn was told that Paly's concession building was "grandfathered in" but could not be altered or changed and Gunn could not build one due to codes. Any clarification would be great. Seems odd that Paly can have a new one and Gunn cannot even have a donated refrigerator or running water. Not complaining about Paly (sounds great what you are getting) just does note make sense what we have heard for years about Gunn. It is hard to feed all those fans with inadequate facilites but it is even harder with no facilities.


Posted by Paly Alum, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 26, 2013 at 4:27 pm

@Jim H: No, I was not thinking along those lines, but you make a good point about appearances affecting psyche and it would be helpful for Paly to have a grand sports facility. The BB court, while historical, needs upgrading and no one can deny that.

Perhaps the "horrible softball and soccer teams" are due to too many families moving to town who prioritize academics instead.

Back in the 70s-80s, we had more free time because academics were less rigorous. These days, it's not so easy to keep up good grades while being a successful athlete at Paly. How many families moving to town (families who move here for the academics) want their children to sacrifice grades for sports? Paly is so rigorous that it's difficult to be a student/athlete.


Posted by Jim H., a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 26, 2013 at 4:45 pm

@ Paly Alum
Sounds like you're ideal high school is one sponsored by ESPN.


Posted by village fool, a resident of another community
on Jun 27, 2013 at 10:29 am

I am wondering if the resurfacing was planned/budgeted considering Tartan's input, above, as to the recommended maintenance? or was it an unpredicted result/damage of the work done on the bleachers? or predicted/budgeted outcome of the damage caused by the work done?
@Crescent Park Dad: you mentioned above - scholarships for students who can't afford the participation fees. I am curious to know if students need to apply for scholarships?


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 27, 2013 at 1:36 pm

@ VF: Each head coach is responsible for collecting the $175 participation fee/donation (along with a couple of other forms). There is a boilerplate sheet that goes out with the sports documentation (along with medical forms, etc.) that communicates the option for not paying the fee/donation. Typically the process only involves the athlete and the coach (oral discussion) and it's done. No scholarship application is required; instead the $175 and the form just isn't collected. Easy and low key.


Posted by village fool, a resident of another community
on Jun 27, 2013 at 5:41 pm

@Crescent Park Dad - Easy and low key is a big step forward, I hope it is not apply only to qualifying sports. Thank you for your kind and courteous response.


Posted by Paly Alum, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 27, 2013 at 8:04 pm

@Jim H: Actually no, the ESPN schools are in Pleasanton. I am complaining that academics are too rigorous at Paly for students to be able to perform well at both. AP and Honors classes add about an hour to studying. Therefore, good athletes have to take regular lane classes to be able to juggle it (there are exceptional students, of course). Having a sport takes at least 3 hours of the day, which leaves 4 hours for homework, with the child going to sleep at Midnite, earliest. My child had to give up his sport since he was not sports scholarship bound. Back in the day, being a student athlete was doable because academics weren't so rigorous.


Posted by Jim H., a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 28, 2013 at 10:51 am

Paly Alum:
I agree that things are way over the top at Paly. But, to say it affects the athletics, I'm not sure I agree there. Even you stated earlier, "We can have both, as we have sports teams which perform well frequently. Parents from other school districts often note that our sports teams at Paly are successful. "Why is it they do so well when they cannot offer scholarships to athletes?" they have asked."

I just don't see the need to spend over the top on the athletic facilities. Put it towards other infrastructure needs or lower the amount of the bond. Sports Illustrated named Long Beach Poly the top sports high school of the century a ways back. Have a look at their school's facilites on Google Maps Web Link


Posted by Paly Alum, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 28, 2013 at 4:25 pm

@Jim H: We can have both great sports teams/facilities and great academics. However, a student has choose either to excel in sports or academics and can't have both. Often, these athletes have workouts outside of team time so that takes extra time too. There just isn't enough time in the day for exceptional athletes to be able to take honors and AP classes and be exceptional athletes and attain that 3.75 GPA. Even some of the math/science regular lane classes are not so easy - they are teaching them out of college books in regular lanes. And World Language? While other schools allow students to speak English in class up until AP classes, our department does not allow English in World Language classes at all, even beginning in 7th grade.


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