Final Funds for Fields of Dreams at Hidden Valley High School

School needs last $175K in matching funds to receive $1.2 million in grants.

Hidden Valley High School (HVHS) is the recipient of $1.2 million dollars in facilities updates grant monies earmarked for the complete renovation of all of its sports fields.

The planned work encompasses updates to both the existing Football/Soccer multiple-use field and the Baseball/Softball field. In addition, the work-flow plan will allow the High School to piggy-back efforts to create new tennis courts.

A major improvement will be the building of a new shared bathroom building. Currently there is no running water to any of the existing field areas, and visitors and spectators have to contend with port-a-potties. There will also be a new brick building concession stand for the baseball field, where none currently exists; and water upgrades to the existing football/soccer multi-purpose fields’ concessions.

Daye Stone, Principal of HVHS explains, “It’s a 70/30 grant – 30% or approximate $575,000 is our responsibility. Between in-kind and cash donations we’ve already raised about $400,000, so we still need approximately $175,000 to finish.”

HVHS Principal Daye Stone and Sports Director Jamie Ongman stand near their existing baseball field during a state play-off game.  Photo Credit: Rocky Garrotto

HVHS Principal Daye Stone and Sports Director Jamie Ongman stand near their existing baseball field during a state play-off game. Photo Credit: Rocky Garrotto

“These upgrades will benefit not only the extracurricular sports but the outdoor PE and aerobics classes, so all students will benefit from the new facilities,” says Jamie Ongman, Athletic Director of HVHS. He continues, “The sense of pride, of ownership that will be created for our students is like the thrill they get over getting new uniforms, times a thousand.”

“This will not only instill pride in our existing students, but we have no doubt that the upgrades to our beautiful High School will attract new families to our area,” adds HVHS Principal Daye Stone, “When this work is complete, Hidden Valley will have one of the top two or three 4-A facilities in the state. This is an opportunity we must seize. We have unfunded sports, and this will assist in placing and keeping coaches who will stay for needed consistency.”

President of the Three Rivers School Board, Kara Olmo, believes the remaining $175,000 necessary to see this project through to completion can be easily had, if the community joins together. Says Olmo, “When this grant was written it was with a 10-year vision. The new facilities are an investment into Hidden Valley’s future. Our overriding goal is to provide a quality place to get educated and create a facility that is supportive and safe for students.”

Time is of the essence. Artificial turf for the fields has to be ordered now, to be ready for next Fall’s playing season. Turf has to be ordered a minimum of 6 weeks prior to installation. Explains Ongman, “We plan on installing the middle of July, so the ordering time for turf is upon us. The goal is to break ground on July 1st, and be done and ready on the football field for the first week of August, in time for Fall football and soccer practice.”

Besides the obvious weather-proofing qualities, there are additional benefits to the planned upgrades. Currently HVHS has 60-70 acres of just sports fields to maintain. Artificial turf provides a consistent playing field, regardless of weather – which also means fewer sports injuries; long-term benefits to the district include substantial maintenance savings reducing personnel upkeep and hard costs like watering, pumping well water, fertilizing and mowing. The turf also reduces set-up time because field lines will be permanently painted. And the new fields will overcome water shortage issues that threaten the existing natural surface sod.

Individuals, alumni, and local businesses are invited to participate. Any donation of any size would be welcome. Cash donations will be managed by the long-time scholarship foundation – the Josephine County Educational Fund. Their website has all the information for anyone interested in donating through PayPal or by check. And because JCEF is non-profit, donations are tax deductible.

Jack Davis, JCEF Board Chairman has seen the community step up for various projects over the years, including the sports fields at Grants Pass High School. Davis notes, “We know that if kids have quality playing fields, we see a corresponding rise in the level of both attendance and grades.”