Donations by local companies help make project a reality

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BLOOMFIELD — Long-awaited construction of a new on-campus soccer field at Bloomfield High School will reach fruition this summer.

Bloomfield School District officials gathered Wednesday morning at the site of the high school's old softball field, watching workers from Envirotech Inc. start demolishing the fences, dugouts and press box.

The company donated its services to the district for approximately $16,000, according to project field manager Donald Ortiz.

"We understand the school is in need," Ortiz said. "Envirotech makes donations all the time, we feel like we're in a position (to help). Envirotech is always willing to go above and beyond to help school districts and nonprofit organizations."

Bloomfield Superintendent Dr. Kim Mizell said the district wouldn't have been able to afford the project if the company hadn't donated its services.

San Juan Signs Inc. and CNJ Oilfield Services also are donating work on the project, which Mizell said is estimated to cost between $375,000 and $425,000.

"It's a nice community partnership," she said.

Mizell said work on the project will proceed over the next several weeks.

In addition to the demolition of the structures, lights poles were removed, and the field will need to be leveled and have an irrigation system installed underneath it before grass is planted.

A scoreboard will be constructed, and four sets of bleachers will be moved over to the west side of the field, which will run north and south.

The goal is to complete the project by mid-July, but Mizell said the facility will not be used by the high school teams this fall.

It will take a while for the newly planted grass to reach the point that it is ready to stand up to the rigors of use by prep soccer teams, she said.

District officials have wanted to move forward with the project for the past couple of years, but they've been hamstrung by a tight budget, Mizell said.

Bloomfield voters failed to approve the extension of an existing 2-mill levy in February, which Mizell said generated $1.5 million for the district each year.

But a Bloomfield school board member who works for Envirotech floated the idea of approaching the company about donating its services, and that helped make it possible for the project to advance, Mizell said.

The school has never had an on-campus soccer field, district officials said.

On a couple of occasions each season, home matches are played at Bobcat Stadium, the on-campus football stadium. However, most contests take place at Mesa Alta Junior High School's soccer field, according to athletic director Cecil Linnens.

"I think it means a lot to the kids to have a facility actually on campus," he said. "They'll get to play on campus as opposed to going to the junior high."

Linnens said having an on-campus field might give the school's soccer programs a bit more of a home-field advantage than they have now.

"It makes you a little more proud playing on your campus," he said.

Mizell said the new field will be a nice addition to the campus, especially because it's being built on a site that has become a bit of an eyesore since the new softball stadium opened.

She noted students' enthusiasm for the project is high.

"I've had several kids come and say, "I've had several kids come and say, 'What's the status of the new field? Are we doing it?'" she said. "It's nice to see the kids excited about it."

Linnens and Mizell also hope having an on-campus soccer field helps improve match attendance, since fans won't have to travel to Mesa Alta Junior High to see the teams play.

"I would think so," Mizell said. "After school, the kids might stay (and watch)."

She said the community is very supportive of the school's sports programs, which she said play an important role in producing well-rounded students.

"I go to as many home games as I possibly can," she said. "I go to see the kids compete. And research shows that participation in athletics helps with attendance, it helps with academics. It's a big part of what we do."

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610.

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