Canyon Crest Academy celebrates project completion with ‘Track & Turf Field Dedication’ in Carmel Valley

CCA Assistant Principal/Athletic Director Jeff Copeland, SDUHSD Vice President Amy Herman, SDUHSD Trustee Joyce Dalessandro, SDUHSDAssistant Superintendent Eric Dill, SDUHSD Clerk Beth Hergesheimer, SDUHSD President Barbara Groth, the Raven, CCA Foundation’s Vice President of Athletic Programs Karen Dillen and CCA Principal Karl Mueller. Photos/Karen Billing

By Karen Billing

Canyon Crest Academy Ravens athletics squads can finally claim a home field advantage after the dedication of their sparkling new track and athletic field on Friday, Sept. 27. The field is the San Dieguito Union High School District’s (SDUHSD) first major project completed with Proposition AA funds. A ceremony was held for the new nine-lane, all-weather track and artificial turf field that was put into use immediately for the Academy Cup, a girls field hockey match between the Ravens and visiting San Dieguito Academy.

“Many have been waiting for this day for a long time,” said Jeff Copeland, the school’s vice principal and athletic director. “This facility is absolutely stunning, in fact, it’s probably the best I’ve ever seen.”

And it’s only the beginning.

Next month, phase two begins on the baseball and softball fields, lacrosse and soccer fields, concession stands and the school’s new stadium.

Copeland said the stadium will be completed in time for the beginning of the 2014-15 school year. The class of 2015 will be the first to hold graduation in the new stadium.

Altogether, the improvements represent a $20 million undertaking.

Eric Dill, associate superintendent, said there were some questions about why so many Prop AA resources were being devoted to CCA, the newest school in the district. He said even though the school is new and is the model vision for what they would like to accomplish in all district schools, the campus was not yet addressing the needs of 800 student athletes and 21 sports teams.

“This is what needed to be done to bring CCA in parity with the rest of our school sites,” Dill said.

Parent Karen Dillen, vice president of athletic programs for the CCA Foundation, reflected how in previous years, teams would experience “field envy” when traveling to play at other schools. Canyon Crest’s old field had a “pronounced crown” at the center, which cut off the view of players’ feet and by the end of the season there were dustbowls in front of the goals.

CCA athletes hit the new track.

There is very little threat of dustbowls now on the turf field. And while, for now, Copeland said students still have to climb to the top of a dirt hill to get a bird’s-eye view to root for the home team, by this time next year they will be sitting comfortably in the new stadium.

At the dedication ceremony, appreciation was given to the parents for supporting and contributing to the foundation, as well as for their support of Prop AA.

“We’re celebrating what can be created when a community comes together for the greater good,” said SDUHSD Board President Barbara Groth.

Groth also gave special recognition to former district superintendent Ken Noah, whom she said was indispensable in taking the big step in even thinking about the possibility of a construction bond.