Potential renovations are in store

The potential of adding artificial turf at North Medford High and the new South Medford High may be broached within the next couple months after the Medford School District gets further along in its bond process.

Given the success the district has enjoyed at Spiegelberg Stadium once FieldTurf was installed in 2004, Doug Jantzi says it only seems natural to look at such a surface at other sites.

"At some point we're going to be talking to the school board about turf at North and the new South because it's been such a great advantage to our physical education programs during the day because we can use it year-round," says Jantzi, Medford's director of secondary education and athletics.

Jantzi says the artificial surface has allowed use of Spiegelberg Stadium for events from early morning to late at night almost every day. A particular benefit is the ability for physical education classes to use the facility during the winter and not have to worry about trudging through muddy fields or the like.

"We're going to argue that it would be an instructional advantage to our high schools if we can carve some money toward an investment in turf," says Jantzi, noting that all conversations are speculative pending a go-ahead by the school board.

Whether the district will go with FieldTurf or another artificial turf manufacturer is a subject for later discussion, but Jantzi says the district most certainly will be looking at products that already pass the lead-free test and have good long-term durability. The turf at Spiegelberg came with a 10-year guarantee, but Jantzi says the hope is that the surface will last well beyond that time frame.

The two-tone look, like the one at Spiegelberg, will not be an option at the proposed sites since that typically involves a cost upgrade.

The proposed plan would be to install artificial turf inside the track at Bowerman Field at North Medford High and inside the track at the new South Medford High, which is still in the bidding process. Both facilities would have lights to optimize use by the schools and the community.

Neither Bowerman nor the new South plans carry a high seating capacity, so the likelihood is that those fields — beyond school and community use — would be used mostly for junior varsity events and lower level sporting teams. Some varsity soccer games, however, may be scheduled at those sites as well.

Another notable benefit would be as a practice facility for the North Medford football team. It plays its home games at Spiegelberg but can only use the stadium site once a week for practice. With the addition at Bowerman, the Tornado would have more time to prepare itself for the differences of playing on artificial turf while lessening abuse to the school's grass fields.

None of this is a given, however, merely a proposal that the school board likely will hear in the next month or so and then be asked to make a final recommendation.

A decision will have to be made relatively soon because the district is only a few months away from having to put in irrigation systems and grass at the new South for playing fields to be ready next fall. Some planting of grass in the spring will likely be done anyway since not all fields are potential sites for artificial turf.


THE EAGLE POINT BOOSTER CLUB has re-ignited a "Raise the Roof" campaign to raise funds to build a cover over the grandstand at Eagle Stadium.

The group is in the early stages of the fund-raising process but expects to do a mass mailing with a brochure that details all the plans, according to club board member Vince Marlia. About 500 brochures are slated to go out in the coming week in the first wave of solicitations.

"We're kind of a small-time outfit out there trying to do the best we can," says Marlia, whose wife Jeri and brother-in-law Dave Erickson have also been instrumental in the booster club's effort. Erickson is the club president.

When Eagle Stadium was built in the early 1980s, the original intention was to have a cover over the grandstand, with footings already built in, but money was an issue. The booster club continued to raise funds for the roof and raised $54,000 before the project fizzled. Those funds have laid in wait ever since.

Last year, the booster club renewed its effort toward a roof with a predominantly word-of-mouth "Raise the Roof" campaign and has added $30,000 to the kitty. The $84,000 is a far cry from the estimates given last year of around $400,000 for the proposed roof, and the club is feverishly trying to close the gap in an effort to hit an ambitious time line of this spring to have all monies in order.

While the club hopes the mass-mailing effort in the coming weeks will help matters, Marlia says they are also working with a grant writer in hopes of getting at least one-third of their ultimate goal of $500,000.

Any additional funds raised by the group for the capital improvement project, Marlia says, will go toward new lighting and necessary field improvements. Artificial turf is not in the discussion at this point.

Eagle Point is the only high school in the Southern Sky Conference that doesn't have a covered roof for its home grandstand.

For more information on the "Raise the Roof" campaign or to make a donation, contact Vince and Jeri Marlia at 826-9061 or Dave Erickson at 890-3392.


SPEAKING OF BOWERMAN FIELD, the Medford School District got a break in funding for the new track surface already in place thanks to the diligence of one North Medford High student and the benevolence of a foundation set up on behalf of the field's namesake.

Prior to his graduation last year, Adam Higgins used his senior project as a way to give back to the school by writing a grant to the Bill Bowerman Foundation after learning the group has previously helped other schools upgrade their tracks. The legendary Bowerman, who passed away in 1999, was a Medford High graduate and coach before gaining his ultimate fame at the University of Oregon.

The maximum award granted by the Bowerman Foundation was $50,000, and Higgins asked for the top figure. Not too long ago, the district received a letter that it had been awarded the $50,000 grant.

"That's a ton of money, which is really nice," says Jantzi, noting the grant translated to about one-third of the actual cost.

Given the poor nature of the Bowerman track, the district had already planned to replace the surface and used a combination of general fund money, bond money and the grant money to make it happen.

The new cinder red surface is similar to what is already in place at Spiegelberg, and Jantzi says it is receiving rave reviews from students and community members who use the track.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 776-4488, or e-mail khenry@mailtribune.com

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