More than 30 years ago, the Big Bear High School campus moved from Big Bear Boulevard in Big Bear Lake to Maple Lane in Big Bear City. At the time, the plans included a football field and track located west of the high school campus.

That project was never completed.

Fast forward 30 years later and there is still no regulation track for Bear Valley Unified School District. The football team still plays at Minder Field where the field is outdated, the stands are inadequate, and the track is unusable for competition.

One only has to travel with the high school teams to see how inadequate Big Bear’s athletic fields are compared to other small schools in the Cross Valley League and the High Desert.

It is time for the Bear Valley Unified School District to not only keep a proposal for a new sports complex in its master plan, but to actively search for funding for the project.

The key word here is “actively.”

The proposed complex features an all-weather track, a turf football-soccer field with lights and a new varsity baseball field with lights. It would be a facility that could also be used for graduation and promotion ceremonies, large events, and could be rented by the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District and other entities.

The estimated cost is $5 million, with those costs rising every day the project stays on the shelf.

So how can the district fund the project? The district is reportedly exploring grant opportunities. Donations are a must. But investment by the district could spell big returns.

The income opportunities for such a facility could be enormous for the district’s coffers as well as the community as a whole. A turf field and all-weather track would attract athletes and teams from around the Southland for high altitude training.  Imagine who would be interested in renting time on the track prior to the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

But Big Bear can’t capitalize on its location and elevation if there aren’t adequate facilities to dangle as the proverbial carrot. It will take the entire community to make it a reality.

This is an opportunity the district and the community cannot afford to waste. Organization needs to start now for fundraising and development.

Let’s not keep this much-needed project on the shelf gathering dust.

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