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Local high schools upgrade athletic facilities

Walter Ford
Sports Editor
Nevada Union's new track at Hooper Stadium. The new track replaced one that had been in service for 17 years.
Walter Ford/wford@theunion.com |

As local high schoolers returned to school Wednesday they may have noticed a few changes to their campuses’ athletic facilities.

Nevada Union and Bear River both made upgrades over the summer, improving a couple of overused surfaces that were in desperate need of repair.

Nevada Union installed a new track at Hooper Stadium, replacing the one that was in place for the past 17 years.

“It’s a classroom,” said NU athletic director Jeff Dellis. “A well-used classroom.”

The new track opened in early August and is available to the public after school hours. Dellis said some changes have been made to ensure track-goers know the rules and etiquette required to keep the track in good condition.

Track-goers that head into the facility will now walk past a sign with the track rules clearly stated.

“It’s meant to be used and we want student athletes and the community to use the track,” said Dellis. “The etiquette is, if you’re not running for time, stay to the outside lanes. Gum and sugar drinks are all things that will stain and mar the track. Keep vehicles off of it. Stuff like that.”

The cost of the track, which was installed by Beynon Sports Surfaces, was approximately $209,000, said Dellis. The cost was covered by district funds. Dellis said he hopes to develop a “sinking fund” so that in 15 years when the track is due to be replaced again, the financial burden doesn’t fall so greatly on the district.

Over at Bear River, the mound of dirt and grass they called a football field has been renovated, flattened and re-sodded with Bermuda grass.

“We played 29 seasons on that field. It had seen its day.” said Bear River athletic director Duwaine Ganskie of the old turf at J. David Ramsey Stadium. “We’re really excited about getting a new surface to play on.”

Those 29 years took its toll, reshaping the Bruins gridiron into a mound where the turf was 26 inches taller in the middle than it was on the sideline, said Ganskie.

The new turf cost approximately $110,000, said Ganskie, much of which was covered by a fund set aside by the Board of Directors years back. He also added that much of the labor and equipment was donated, helping to defray the overall cost.

Ganskie said that artificial turf was considered but found, after talking with several coaches and players, that natural grass was preferred; also noting that artificial turf would have come at a much greater cost.

“After talking with coaches and players, a lot of them said they really enjoy playing on natural grass, said Ganskie.”

Both athletic programs are also featuring the Athlete Committed program this year. Athlete Committed is a program designed to aid students in their athletic and life pursuits. Its purpose is to educate students about the benefits of sleep and nutrition, and also demonstrate the negative effects of drugs and alcohol on training and athletic performance. The primary goal is to move the athletic and student cultures toward higher levels of individual and team achievement.

All Bear River and NU student-athletes are required to attend the presentation.

John Underwood of Athlete Committed and two US Navy Seals are the featured speakers.

“Athlete Committed talks about all the components that go into being a good athlete,” said Ganskie. “We are trying to create a culture with our student-athletes where they commit to improving their lifestyle.”

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com.

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