New location proposed for Dozier Field
As part of the master-planning project the Park City School District has been working on for several months, Dozier Field, the high school’s main athletic field, is slated to move.
Though specifics haven’t been finalized, the high school will most likely expand west to accommodate the ninth-grade classes that will be moving in from Treasure Mountain Junior High, which will be torn down. The master-planning committee is looking at a few options for the relocation of Dozier Field, but the field will most likely move to the Treasure Mountain site.
Alongside the new Dozier Field, an indoor fieldhouse could be built, too, according to PCHS Activities Director Jamie Sheetz.
"At this moment in time, that’s the general idea," he said. "Assuming that the expansion of the high school goes west and there is a moving of Dozier Field over to the Treasure Mountain property, we’d also look at getting some indoor training space associated with that for our teams to practice. P.E. classes would have access to that as well, and so would youth programs on off-hours."
Sheetz said that, in addition to the football program, several other sports that currently use Dozier, and some that don’t, could benefit from the proposed renovations.
"It brings girls’ soccer into the same situation as boys’ soccer in having access to the stadium," he said. "It gives us a chance to create some indoor opportunities for both boys’ and girls’ golf and it allows girls’ soccer, cross country and potentially boys’ and girls’ lacrosse the chance for adequate locker room facilities — changing areas, staging areas, training facilities."
Chip Cook, the girls’ soccer coach, said she prefers playing soccer on grass, but she knows there are types of turf that will work well, too. Plus, she added, turf is a better option for the environment.
"Watering and maintaining grass fields costs a lot of money and we live in the desert, so I get it," she said. "I think the kids like playing on the turf, too."
Sheetz said if the current proposal is finalized, there will likely be some scheduling impacts during construction, especially for the 2016 fall sports like football and girls’ soccer. Cook said her squad will be perfectly fine playing another season at the North 40 fields.
Though Sheetz said the plan is to keep the impact on sports programs to a minimum, there will need to be some backup plans in place.
"I’m going to assume there’s going to be at least a little bit of disruption somewhere," he said. "We won’t know the entire impact of that until we’ve had a chance to meet with the architects, which will probably be closer to January.
"Football is the biggest one that everybody asks about. Obviously, we have to look at what spaces are available on the Kearns campus, at least for practice. If we don’t have anything available to play on at the Kearns campus, whether that’s the North 40 or where the Treasure Mountain field is now, we’ve looked at Quinn’s [Junction] space. We’ve also looked at City Park and talked about going old school and whether that’s a possibility. If we couldn’t find a place in Park City, we’d start tapping into our neighbors, whether it’s South Summit or Wasatch, and trying to go rent their facilities when they’re not at home. Hopefully we don’t get to that point. Hopefully we can mitigate the disruption and keep it in town."
Football Coach Mike Shepherd agreed with Sheetz about not going to South Summit or Wasatch, as it brings back bad memories from his earlier coaching days.
"In 2003 and 2004, because we didn’t have a turf field, we had to play at South Summit [for playoff games] and got upset both times and didn’t make it to Rice-Eccles Stadium [for the state championship game]," he said. "Not playing at home, it just takes a big advantage away."
Though the potential for a disrupted season concerns Shepherd, he said he’s in favor of the project in the long run.
"I’m always in favor of something better for the program," he said. "In the end, it would be a fantastic thing. I’m just hoping they’re going to design the process so there’s the least amount of impact on the football program possible. Let’s start construction on the new football field before you tear down the old one. I would just appreciate if it was done in the fastest, easiest way possible."
Sheetz hopes the construction won’t affect spring sports like girls’ lacrosse and boys’ soccer, both of which played their home games at Dozier last season. Steve Gordon, co-president of the Park City Lacrosse Organization, said the girls’ lacrosse program would be fine playing at sites like Quinn’s and Matt Knoop Park for another season because of the future benefits for the program.
"We’re fully in favor of it because, not only did we play our home games on Dozier, that’s where we practiced," he said. "The [Basin Recreation] Fieldhouse at the [Kimball] Junction is almost impossible to get into because it’s so busy. Our girls are forced to practice outside in the snow and ice during January and February. From that perspective, we’re fully in favor of this."
Gordon is encouraging Park City residents to approve the bond that will be on the ballot in November and will help pay for the school expansion and athletics upgrades.
"People attack this bond on the basis that it’s all about athletics," he said. "But, if you look at the actual bond and how much is actually geared toward athletics, it’s only a fraction. The majority of it is for the school, because the school is full and they need more space."
Regarding the athletics upgrades, Gordon cited studies that show girls who are involved in varsity athletics in high school have higher GPAs and do better on college admissions tests.
"What community wouldn’t be behind that?" he asked. "Supporting a fraction of the bond going to athletic facilities seems like a no-brainer. By the time any of this is in place, my daughter will be graduated. I’m in favor of it because of the impact it’ll have on our community and our high-school-aged girls for years to come. I’m willing to pay a few more dollars on my taxes for the benefit of the community."
In the end, Sheetz said, he hopes to show the community how many of the high school students, athletes and non-athletes, will benefit from the proposed upgrades.
"We’re trying to take care of as many students as we can with this and trying to upgrade facilities that are a little bit out of date," he said. "We’re trying to make sure we’re giving our kids the best facilities we can."
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Tosh Martin, a Park City High School junior, was the Miners’ sole selection to the Class 4A UHSAA All-State soccer first team.