By Jeremiah Dobruck
9:21 PM PST, February 20, 2013
Members of the Costa Mesa City Council voted Tuesday to contribute $100,000 to sports facility improvements at local high schools.
The council's contribution will be distributed through the nonprofit athletic foundation Costa Mesa United and will be divided evenly between Estancia and Costa Mesa high schools, according to the council's resolution.
The council, or city CEO Tom Hatch, may still have to approve agreements for individual projects.
The donation comes while the city and Newport-Mesa Unified School District are working out an agreement that would include another contribution to design new track-and-field facilities at Mesa.
Parents, boosters and coaches have long lobbied the Newport-Mesa school board for the improvements.
Last week, track-and-field Coach Steve Moreno told the school board that a well-worn track and bad field conditions affect his team daily.
"I have to limit the amount of time we spend on the track, because unfortunately, the track being in the condition that it is, it will put the athletes at risk," he said.
Deputy Supt. Paul Reed told speakers that the process of improving the field may soon be in full swing, but the district is waiting for an approved memorandum of understanding from Costa Mesa before entering the design process.
With that, the school board will have to decide what it intends to build at Mesa and how much it would cost, he added.
"There's some real soft numbers floating around," Reed told board members. "And if either entity, or both entities, are going to enter into this agreement, it behooves you, from our estimation, to know exactly what that's likely to be."
While officials hash out the memorandum, parents hope the city's help will fix a situation they call unsafe.
"We are in dire need of both a new field and a track," football boosters President Greg Barnett said, blaming the current conditions for knee injuries two of his sons suffered.
"The process is underway," school board President Dana Black assured Barnett and others.
The council left open the possibility of allocating $100,000 a year to the schools for the next five years.