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VENTURA : Tuttle Seeks Funds for Synthetic Track

The Ventura school board on Tuesday said it wants more information on a proposal by Ventura City Councilman Gary Tuttle to install an all-weather running track at Ventura High School.

Tuttle, a former world-class runner, is spearheading an effort to raise $300,000 to pay for the Larrabee Stadium track. The City Council has already set aside $75,000, and he is looking for another $100,000 commitment from the school board, Tuttle told trustees.

“I think this is a bargain for the school district and I hope you agree,” Tuttle said.

The remaining $125,000 would be raised by soliciting donations from Ventura High graduates, by holding fund-raisers and going after grants, Tuttle said. The school board directed district staff to determine if there is any money for the project in the budget.

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A vote on whether the school district will kick in a share is scheduled for Nov. 28.

Tuttle said an all-weather track is badly needed to replace the current dirt lanes, which become gooey with mud each rainy season. The new track would have an asphalt rubber bottom that is covered with polyurethane, making it usable even during harsh weather, he said.

Buena High also has dirt lanes, but three schools in the Oxnard Union High School District have all-weather tracks, Tuttle said. The improved running surface would make Ventura more attractive for regional track meets or for runners training for the Olympics, Tuttle said.

“We could get the team from New Zealand to come and stay at the Holiday Inn for three weeks if we had the proper facility to offer them,” he said as a suggestion.

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One famous alumnus Tuttle plans to tap is Eric Turner, a defensive back for the Cleveland Browns.

“He used to run at Larrabee Stadium and still trains there during the summer,” Tuttle said. “I saw him last summer and he said he is interested.”


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