By Live Oak School District Superintendent, Lorie Chamberland
Three years ago, Live Oak community member, Bill Simpkins, had a vision for creating a soccer field and running path that could be a gathering place for the whole community. This dream is now becoming a reality with the long-awaited groundbreaking ceremony, which took place at Shoreline Middle School on Monday, May 20th.
The multimillion-dollar, multi-year project includes the installation of an artificial turf field, a perimeter running path, lighting, and picnic tables, which together with the Simpkins Swim Center, creates a community sports complex in the heart of Live Oak.
As the Live Oak School District Superintendent, it was my privilege and pleasure to open the groundbreaking ceremony by recognizing Bill and Brigid Simpkins for their vision, their very generous investment of one million dollars, and their drive in bringing this project to fruition.
School Board President Jeremy Ray echoed his appreciation for all that the Simpkins Family has brought to the Live Oak community, “Along with the Boys & Girls Club and our partnerships with Live Oak Community Resources and Santa Cruz Community Health Centers, this sports complex represents the next step in our efforts as a school district to reach out to families in our community and ensure that we are doing everything we can to support them. We are so grateful to Bill and Brigid Simpkins for making it happen.”
While the field LOOKS green and lush now thanks to the winter rains, it is uneven, pockmarked with gopher holes, and difficult to play on. For the Live Oak School District, the rebuilt field will be a safe place for students to play soccer and the new running path will provide a much needed training course for the track team.
For Bill Simpkins, an artificial turf soccer field would be a benefit not only for the Live Oak School District and Shoreline Middle School, but also to his beloved community, where soccer is exceptionally popular and fields to play it are in short supply. “Having access to the new state of the art Soccer Field opens up so many more opportunities for Mid-County Soccer Club to continue to provide an excellent soccer experience to the youth of the community.
In celebration of this pivotal moment, we will be hosting a Fall Jamboree in October 2019 for the ribbon cutting ceremony,” said Carlos Chagolla, President of the Mid County Youth Soccer Club.
Bill Simpkins has led the fundraising efforts in collaboration with the Live Oak School District and Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County by enlisting individuals, foundations, and other donors to join in the field of dreams at Shoreline Middle School.
Bill has successfully raised over $2 million to date. Project donors include Monterey Peninsula Foundation, Julie Packard, Bob and Carol Simpkins, Bud Colligan, Kaiser Permanente, Wharf to Wharf Foundation, Roland and Pat Rebele, John and Karen Dowdell, Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County, Live Oak Education Foundation, Mid-County Youth Soccer, Nordic Naturals, Robert Stevens, and Menard Family Foundation.
We are grateful to both Bill and Brigid Simpkins and the many generous donors who understand the importance of creating resources to support active families and a healthy community in the heart of Live Oak.
The School District anticipates needing to raise an additional $150,000 in order to fully fund the project. Interested donors should contact Dr. Stacey Kyle, Director of Special Projects for the Live Oak School District (email@example.com).