Courtesy of the Hollister School District:
The pandemic created a “unique opportunity” for the Hollister School District to overhaul various sports fields for the benefit of students and the broader community.
In partnership with the City of Hollister, the district has made significant improvements to fields at Calaveras, R.O. Hardin, Maze, Gabilan Hills and Rancho San Justo schools.
With fewer people on campuses since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, school leaders decided it was an appropriate time for needed upgrades to the fields, said Aaron Buzzetta, director of facilities for the district. He mentioned the local fields had been riddled with such issues as gopher holes, general overuse and dried-out grounds.
“COVID provided a unique opportunity for us to have flexibility of getting onto the fields and moving about freely,” said Buzzetta, emphasizing staff members working on the projects followed all safety protocols. “It provided a unique opportunity to be there alone, and we were able to get a tremendous amount of work done in a relatively short period of time.”
Specifically, some of the district’s work included repairs on the inner tracks at Marguerite Maze Middle School and Gabilan Hills Elementary School, along with the inner track at Rancho San Justo Middle School. With so much summer activity at Rancho’s facilities, the district plans to address the remainder of the fields in the late fall or winter, Buzzetta said, adding how the district had received many phone calls from groups inquiring about using those fields as the state reopened.
“I couldn’t shut that field down during the summer with all the activity and all the buzz,” he said.
Over at Calaveras, crews repaired grass within the campus fence boundary. At R.O. Hardin Elementary School, improvements included an extensive overhaul of the three diamonds with new red infield mix and new grass.
All that work means students will have a pleasant surprise waiting for them when they return to school, but the general public can enjoy the upgraded facilities as well. Over the summer, local programs such as the Junior Giants already have been using the improved ball fields while others such as the Vikings and Rebels football programs will benefit, too, Buzzetta noted. He underscored that a financial partnership with the city was instrumental toward getting the work done.
“It’s just a beautiful upgrade, and a fantastic improvement to the district and community,” he said. “We’re a town of competitive and recreational sports, from football to soccer to softball and baseball.”
He said the district’s crews were excited about getting outside and working on the improvements as well.
“It’s a complete win for the community as a whole,” he said.