David Snapp has bided his time, waiting six years for a facilities upgrade at Pacheco High School.
The way the Panthers’ football coach sees it, a couple more months aren’t going to hurt.
Ground finally broke on a couple of projects last week as Pacheco’s Veterans Stadium is set to have a new turf field for the 2016 season, and an all-purpose turf practice field is being constructed toward the rear of the school to help facilitate the move of boys and girls soccer to winter.
Pacheco athletic director Charlie Pikas said the two projects should be completed by late September to mid-October.
“If it was up to me, we would have gotten these things going so the stadium would be ready in time for the start of the season,” Snapp said. “Things obviously didn’t work out that way, but the field should be ready for all of our conference games and we’re hoping our final nonconference game.
“We’re anxious to get out there and break it in, but a little extra wait isn’t going to kill us.”
The Panthers will have six road games this season because of the construction, playing at Heritage of Brentwood for a second straight season. Pacheco will host Chavez at Loftin Stadium on Sept. 9 and then hope to christen their new stadium turf against Edison of Stockton on Sept. 30.
Pikas said the all-purpose field should be completed a short time later in mid- to late October.
“You keep thinking it would be so cool to have this, then to actually see the ground be broken and big piles of dirt moved is very exciting,” Pikas said. “Our kids have gone out and just performed without complaint the last six years, playing and practicing in less than ideal conditions.
“It was nice of the district to recognize there was a problem and to take the steps to rectify it. October can’t get here fast enough.”
The changes will be a major upgrade for Pacheco teams that have played and practiced on barely more than dirt the last few years. Snapp has repeatedly posted videos on Facebook and Twitter that showed billowing dust and subpar practice conditions as the Panthers prepared to make their case to the school board.
The all-purpose field should be a particularly nice change of pace for several teams. Football and soccer will share the field as fall and winter sports begin to cross over. The same holds true for the soccer and softball teams between the winter and spring athletic seasons. The turf surface will also serve as Pacheco’s new softball field.
“We have a fencing company coming in that will put down what looks like permanent chain-link fence from February to May and then will remove it again before the next fall season,” Pikas said. “I think soccer moving to the winter is what finally helped prompt this. The stadium field just wasn’t going to get any kind of break.
“With the addition of the turf, the stadium is going to be one of the best in the Valley, and now we should have plenty of room for everyone to have a nice practice space. I think everyone’s excited to see how it turns out.”