Community to celebrate opening of new facility |

Community to celebrate opening of new facility

Steve Yingling

Adults have put in the labor and now it’s time for the student athletes to enjoy the fruits of a new multi-million-dollar track, soccer and football facility at South Tahoe Middle School.

Lake Tahoe Unified School District will celebrate its newest jewel – the Community Youth Sports Complex – with the community on Thursday, enhancing the festivities with student participation.

A 1 p.m. dual ribbon-cutting ceremony at the track will follow a torch relay by students from each of the Lake Tahoe Unified School District schools and St. Theresa School. In addition to school district representatives, dignitaries from the city council and county are expected to be on hand, as well as local construction companies who donated millions of dollars of work.

A demonstration soccer match is planned as well.

The public is invited to attend the 45-minute ceremony at the facility.

Groundbreaking for the project began on a snowy day in May. Coincidentally, snow is in the forecast for Thursday’s celebration as well.

“It happened so quickly,” said Angie Keil, executive assistant to the superintendent. “I’m extremely excited, especially for Jim (Tarwater). It’s through his vision that this all happened.”

Many community members have contributed to replacing the facility that formerly housed the tartan track used for the 1968 Olympic Track and Field Trials at Echo Summit.

Anthony Davis and Rick Brown originally came up with the idea of fundraising for a new track, then through the persistence of South Tahoe Middle School teacher Karin Holmes fundraising continued until a landslide of contributions poured in during the past year.

Relay participants will consist of cross country runners from the high school and middle school. At the elementary schools, lotteries and a physical education specialist determined the runners.

Officers from the South Lake Tahoe Police and El Dorado County Sheriff’s departments will escort the torchbearers during their relay legs from their respective schools. The relay portion of the celebration will conclude with an inaugural lap around the track.

Because of the close proximity of St. Theresa and STMS to the facility, their participants will start their relays at the airport.

The Lake Tahoe Magnate School will have the most difficult relay and will begin at 12:05 p.m. in order to make it to the track in an hour.

“It’s only half a mile (per child), so we feel they can do it,” Keil said. “There are alternative runners available if they can’t do it. The kids have demonstrated to their PE specialist that they can do it.”

The South Tahoe high boys’ and girls’ soccer teams have played a number of home games on the field this month. The complex has received many compliments from out-of-town coaches, pleasing architect Brett Long.

“I’m really happy with the field,” said Long, who estimated that he donated about half the time he spent on the project. “Steve Morales made sure we got the best (materials), and we did it right.”

Phase II of the project will include lighting, a concession stand, additional bleachers and restrooms. Donations are still needed to complete this phase. To make one, contact Keil at (530) 541-2850, ext. 225, or go to

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