San Dieguito board considers $11.6 million worth of athletic upgrades at Torrey Pines

The softball field at Torrey Pines High School.
(Anna Scipione)

The San Dieguito Union High School District is prepared to begin the first of three phases of athletic facilities improvements at Torrey Pines High School.

This phase of work aims to resolve a Title IX complaint filed against the district that the girls softball field was not fairly equivalent to the facilities provided to the boys baseball program. As the field had fallen into disrepair, the first phase of improvements will add new bleachers, backstops and scoreboards on the softball field.

This phase also includes the resurfacing of the tennis courts, new synthetic turf on the multi-purpose fields and Americans with Disability Act-required improvements to the pathway that leads to the home team side of the football stadium.

During public comment at the board’s June 15 session, the board heard concerns about the sufficiency of the Title IX improvements from parent Kim Klekotka. She said the softball program was mostly left out of the planning process and no one had seen any detailed plans: “How can the public raise valid concerns if there haven’t been any public disclosures ?”

She also raised concerns about the need for permanent lights on the softball field. Many times this past season, game times were reduced by 30 minutes due to lighting issues and in other cases the school had to rent expensive temporary lights.

The public comment was enough to give the majority of board members pause—the board voted 3-2 to delay approving the $11.6 million guaranteed maximum price of phase one until they were satisfied that all Title IX improvements have been addressed for the softball program.

“I feel a little concerned moving forward without knowing that information,” said Vice President Jane Lea Smith.

Kathryn McGinty pitches in a home game at Torrey Pines.
(Anna Scipione)

Trustees Phan Anderson and Michael Allman were opposed to waiting any longer and were ready to move forward with the project that night. “I don’t see any problem with going ahead,” said Anderson, who was reassured that if something is missing it could still be addressed in the next phase of work.

Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Tina Douglas said that her only hesitation with delaying was that with facilities there are always a lot of moving parts. The projects have been timelined for when the sports team seasons start and she didn’t know the full impact the delay might have.

The board had recommended the phase one item return for its June 29 session but Douglas said with requirements for staff to prepare agenda items, it is possible that it wouldn’t come back to the board until July 20—which would stretch that two-week delay to over a month.

At the June 15 meeting, the board also reviewed the preliminary guaranteed maximum price for phase two, which includes the modernization of the locker rooms and addition of new team rooms in the gym. The preliminary price has increased from its original scope to $6.4 million.

There was no action on phase three, which is the aquatic center, with a preliminary bid of $9.4 million.

Regarding phase three, Allman said he had been under the impression that the board would’ve been approving the price for the pool in the fall but it looks to have now been pushed to probably at least March.

“Is there anything we can do to speed that up?” inquired Allman. “It just seems like we keep delaying, delaying, delaying.”

Douglas said the district’s facilities department is doing a lot of “heavy lifting” right now with a variety of projects districtwide. While Allman suggested the use of a consultant, Douglas said staff is working in-house on the timing of the phases and getting all of the construction documents prepared to go out to bid.