Subscribe

Sonoma Valley High’s new athletic fields will need an EIR

The "Follow This Story" feature will notify you when any articles related to this story are posted.

When you follow a story, the next time a related article is published — it could be days, weeks or months — you'll receive an email informing you of the update.

If you no longer want to follow a story, click the "Unfollow" link on that story. There's also an "Unfollow" link in every email notification we send you.

This tool is available only to subscribers; please make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

Please note: This feature is available only to subscribers; make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

Subscribe

Saturday Board Meeting

The Sonoma Valley Unified School District will hold a special board meeting on Saturday, Feb. 2, to share information on the general obligations bonds and facilities update. Public comment is welcome, but the board can take no action at this time.

Subjects include:

 2011 Bond Language and Projects

 2016 Bond Language

 Facilities Master Plan

 2016 Bond Detailed Project List

 Active Projects

 Deferred Maintenance Plan

The meeting will begin at 9 a.m., and is scheduled to last until 2 p.m. It will be held at the district offices, 17850 Railroad Ave., Sonoma.

The long-awaited Sonoma Valley High School athletic field project moved one baby step closer to reality this week as public comment was opened for what is now seen as an inevitable Environmental Impact Report for the upgrades, which could cost an estimated $9.5 million.

The proposed SVHS athletic complex is perhaps the most high-profile of the possible projects to be funded by the 2016 $120-million school bond. The proposed complex to the east of Nathanson Creek would contain an all-weather field, an eight-lane track and seating for 2,500 spectators.

All that, and 70-foot-high field lights, which have cast a shadow on the popularity of the athletic complex.

A public meeting was held on Monday, Jan. 28, featuring a presentation of recommendations from school district staff and EIR consultants the GHD Group on what a potential EIR should include. Public comments will also be accepted through Feb. 15.

“The point of meeting was to get people’s input on potential environmental issues that they would want to include in the EIR,” said Bruce Abbott, the district’s associate superintendent for finance. Abbott said the attendance at the public meeting ranged from about 15 to 25 people expressing their concerns about the athletic facilities improvement project.

The project includes renovations to the existing Sonoma Valley High School track and field, baseball/softball fields, and outdoor basketball courts. Renovations include the removal of the existing track and field; installation of a new all-weather track and an all-weather synthetic turf field; installation of new seating and viewing areas; construction of several small buildings to house team rooms, storage, restrooms, ticket sales, and concessions; new sports lighting for the turf field and track; and relocation and renovation of the existing softball and baseball fields.

A proposed new swimming pool project, a possible joint venture between the school district and the Sonoma Valley Health and Recreation Association – or, Sonoma Splash – is not part of the project.

In previous school district meetings, the lighting towers and noise from evening sporting events have drawn objection from neighbors of the high school. Additionally, critics have questioned the high priority the sports stadium has been given over educational needs like a new science wing at the high school and more classrooms.

District officials have long insisted the current playing fields at SVHS are inadequate. They say the quarter-mile track at the school is in such poor condition the track team can’t host meets; the baseball and softball teams play their games downtown at Arnold Field; the soccer teams played this winter season at a borrowed “home field” in Petaluma.

Nor are there bleachers for the school’s own students, let alone visitors, to enjoy the games and cheer on their teams.

“We really should have a facility like every other high school in the county and beyond,” said girls soccer coach Mike Verdu. “It’s pretty embarrassing when a school with a beautiful facility, like Vintage, comes to our place.”

Given the size of the proposed field upgrades, meeting attendees proposed several factors for EIR examination. Those include: air quality, biological resources, cultural and tribal cultural resources, geology and soils, greenhouse gas emissions and energy, hazardous materials, water quality, land use, noise, transportation and more.

Environmental Impact Reports can take up to a year to complete. If one is required for the new athletic facilities, construction may not begin until 2020 at the earliest.

Comments can be submitted by calling the school district at 935-4249, emailing babbott@sonomaschools.org, or mailing Abbott at SVUSD, 17850 Railroad Ave., Sonoma 95476. The deadline is Feb. 15.

Saturday Board Meeting

The Sonoma Valley Unified School District will hold a special board meeting on Saturday, Feb. 2, to share information on the general obligations bonds and facilities update. Public comment is welcome, but the board can take no action at this time.

Subjects include:

 2011 Bond Language and Projects

 2016 Bond Language

 Facilities Master Plan

 2016 Bond Detailed Project List

 Active Projects

 Deferred Maintenance Plan

The meeting will begin at 9 a.m., and is scheduled to last until 2 p.m. It will be held at the district offices, 17850 Railroad Ave., Sonoma.

Show Comment

Our Network

The Press Democrat
Petaluma Argus Courier
North Bay Business Journal
Sonoma Magazine
Bite Club Eats
La Prensa Sonoma
Emerald Report
Spirited Magazine