Frugality and state small-school adjustment funds are paying huge dividends at Pine Elementary School.
The bonuses arrived in the form of a $502,000-plus all-weather track and multi-purpose playing surface that would be the envy of most all Valley area metropolitan “big school” administrators.
The new facility, which was finished two weeks ago, was dedicated July 10 during a midday ceremony hosted by Sunland Coatings at the school.
Most who attended marveled at the new track and surface saying it was obviously both eye appealing and highly functional.
Although Sunland workers lined the playing surface with yard markers much like a football field, the area will serve mostly as a playground for school students during lunch, class breaks and before and after school.
Pine school formerly fielded a flag football team that could have used the facility for games, but the school dropped the sport several years ago.
The rubberized track surface is on par, or better, than Payson High School’s all-weather track.
The new Pine school track, however, is not the regulation 400 meters in length. Rather, 10 laps make up one mile and there are facilities for field events.
Elementary and junior high meets will be held on the track next school year.
School custodian Keith Howell said the facility was much needed because the campus did not have adequate playground areas or a track for the school’s team to practice and compete on.
Also, Howell added, “culverts were redone to help with drainage problems.”
The school will maintain an “open door policy” to allow community members to use the facility.
“We will put a double gate and posts in to be sure no one can get in with any type of vehicles to cause vandalism,” said Howell.
School business manager Mary Jo Licavoli said the district first started saving the money to the build new facilities in about 2003 with monies from a small board-approved tax adjustment, state funds, Forest Service fees and the capital budget.
There were no large tax increases, Licavoli said, “because we didn’t want to impact the taxpayers.”
Once the money was in cash reserves, board member Mike Ward “came up with the idea for the project,” said Licavoli.