New Athletic Field Unveiled in East San Jose Product of Collaboration Between City and School District
Synthetic football and soccer field and four lane track meets critical need in community underserved by quality open space and safe recreational opportunities.
SAN JOSE, Calif., June 1, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- What first began as a dream in Fall 2009 has finally become a reality as the Alum Rock Union Elementary School District today unveiled its new, state-of-the-art athletic field at Sheppard Middle School.
In a community historically underserved by recreational opportunities for children and families, the construction of a new athletic field is being haled as a monumental achievement for the District, seen throughout the state as a model for improved student performance and learning in communities with a significant population of English learners and low-income families.
At a total cost of $2.5 million, the field is the product of an innovative collaboration between the school district and the City of San Jose. The new field features an all weather, four-lane track, a synthetic field with football and soccer striping and state-of-the-art lighting to extend use to 10 pm daily.
Driven by a critical lack of recreational amenities within the District and the surrounding community, Superintendent Jose L. Manzo, upon being appointed to that position in 2009, approached then San Jose Councilmember Nora Campos proposing a collaboration to meet their mutual goals of improving the health of students and their families and creating safe recreational spaces to serve the East San Jose community.
The resulting joint use agreement led to this historic investment. As part of the agreement, the City contributed $2 million towards the field's construction, funds that will bear no impact to the City's structural general fund deficit, while the school district contributed $500,000 in capital funds and will maintain the field in perpetuity.
"This project is a perfect example of what happens when leaders come together with bold ideas," said California State Assemblymember Nora Campos (D, San Jose). "Now, the community will benefit with a safe new recreation area that will serve our City and the families of East San Jose for generations to come."
To the Alum Rock community, the field at Sheppard Middle School symbolizes the four-year tenure of its Superintendent, Jose L. Manzo, who has sought innovative solutions to the District's critical needs despite dwindling State dollars dedicated towards K-12 education. Under his leadership, the District has engaged numerous partners that have helped transform the District, once seen as one of the lowest performing in the State, into a leader in embracing innovation and technology and has been widely credited as one of the fastest improving Districts across the state in terms of student performance and eliminating the achievement gap.
"I have never accepted that our children have had to settle for anything less than the best because of their socioeconomic backgrounds," said Jose L. Manzo, Superintendent of the Alum Rock Union Elementary School District. "Instead, I have opened our District's doors to a wide array of partners and demanded that our entire community invest in our children. We all have a stake in ensuring their success."
As part of the joint use agreement, the public will have access to the field on school days from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm and all day on weekends. While the track will be open during those times for general use, the programming of the field during those times will be overseen by the City of San Jose's Park and Recreation Department.
About Alum Rock Unified School District: The Alum Rock Union School District operates twenty elementary schools and six middle schools, totaling a student population of 12,500. Serving the ethnically and economically diverse community of East San Jose, Alum Rock is a family-oriented district deeply committed to meeting the many needs of its students and families.
Over the past four years, Alum Rock Union School District has earned a reputation for innovation and investment, both in its infrastructure and student and teacher resources. As a result, the district has transformed numerous once poorly performing schools into models of student achievement and learning. The success of this effort is exhibited in the districts rapidly improving API scores and its ability to narrow the achievement gap in a district with a significant population of English Learners and low-income immigrant families.
For more information: www.arusd.org
Media Contact: Rolando Bonilla Alum Rock Union Elementary School District, 415-987-8025, Rolando@fordandbonilla.com
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