The Payson High School stadium improvement project, which includes the construction of an all-weather running surface on the track, recently received a huge boost from the Credit for Tax program.
A total of $62,903 received from the program was earmarked by donors to be used for the stadium project.
That amount will be added to the $150,000 donated earlier this year by the Tonto Apaches and contributions received in past years from Credit for Kids.
With that money in the district coffers, officials anticipate having most of the project including the new surface go up for bid in March.
Renovations could begin in April, with the new surface completed by late summer or early fall.
Longhorn track coaches have not had a full-sized facility to practice on in two years. Also, the team was unable to host track and field meets last season due to the lack of facilities.
The long-awaited improvement project began more than a year ago when workers discovered a broken sewer line under the track surface. It eventually had to be replaced.
Later, a retaining wall between the dome and the stadium was constructed so that the bleachers could be moved from the north side of the field to the south. The stands were also refurbished.
Currently, fiber-optic cabling is being rerouted so it will not interfere with the construction of the new track surface.
In addition to an all-weather track, district officials plan to upgrade the current sprinkler/drainage system and construct curbing around the track.
In the future, officials hope to acquire the funding to build bleachers on the north side of the track.
The 2001 Credit for Kids tax program received a total of $189,387.84 last year. That amount represents a 35-percent increase over the previous year's contributions.
Taxpayers who contributed up to $250 of their tax money to the local school district had the option of designating where they wanted their donations used. The stadium project got the largest share of the taxpayers' money.
Individual schools in the district also benefited. Schools and the amounts they received are: Payson High ($27,444.01), Frontier Elementary ($25,368.00), Rim Country Middle School ($21,242.99), Julia Randall ($19,916.01), Payson Elementary ($19,059.33) and Payson Center for Success ($13,454.50).