Athletic facilities to expand at north county middle schools

Daly City — Northern San Mateo County children will have access to expanded athletic offerings soon with the completion of two new middle school gymnasiums and a new athletic field, school and municipal officials said Thursday.

On May 20, the Jefferson Elementary School District will be celebrating the completion of gymnasiums at Benjamin Franklin Intermediate School and Thomas R. Pollicita Middle School. The two gyms were a joint project between the school district and the city of Daly City and the town of Colma, which will use them for municipal recreation when they aren’t being used by the school.

“It’s going to open things up for us quite a bit,” Daly City Parks and Recreation spokesman Ed Barney said.

When the city began work on the new War Memorial Community Center in spring 2004, it lost use of the old center’s gymnasium. As a result, it had to cancel its regional basketball tournament, and stop allowing out-of-city participation in its popular youth basketball league.

But now the city expects to expand the basketball programs at a rate of 10 percent a year, he said. The program currently serves 1,000 children.

The gyms, which cost a combined $10.3 million, will also provide physical education space suited to the north Peninsula’s inclement climate, JESD Superintendent Barbara Wilson said. Funding came from part of the $52 million Measure H bond passed in 2001, as well as $2 million in state funding, $940,000 from Daly City and $500,000 from Colma.

Those city funds will also go toward a new artificial-surface athletic field at T.R. Pollicita, bond project manager Rick Young said. The field will allow two youth soccer games concurrently, in all seasons, and will be only the second such field in the city. The fields will cost an estimated $1.4 million and will be finished in September, Young said.

kwilliamson@examiner.com

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