Foothill High had quite the football season, winning the East Bay Athletic League (EBAL) Valley Division, then advancing to, and hosting, the North Coast Section Division II finals.
The Falcons fell 21-14 to Campolindo in the title game, but the real pain from the game came in the next week.
Fans from Campolindo complained to NCS about the lack of ADA accessibility at the Foothill stadium, a problem the school has faced for some time now.
NCS took notice and slapped Foothill with a ban from hosting any NCS events at the facility until the stadium is ADA compliant.
It doesn’t just affect the football team, but other sports like soccer, lacrosse, track/field, and potentially band competitions.
The first victim was the NCS Tri-Valley Track and Field Championships that was scheduled for May 14 at Foothill. The meet now is set for Freedom High.
This is not a time where schools are able to throw money around to get major projects accomplished. There has been a lot of head scratching around Foothill and the Pleasanton Unified School District, searching for an answer.
Denying the student athletes/band members the chance to partake and compete at their home site in the postseason is something that needs to be fixed, and fixed quickly.
But the lingering question is – where will they money for the repairs come from?
Enter “We are Pleasanton.”
As the group likes to say – “We Are Pleasanton, and we are back.”
The group of Pleasanton businessmen and community members is the brainchild of Todd Utikal, the owner of SideTrack Bar and Grill in downtown Pleasanton.
The group was founded with the mission to “Improve our schools through business and community,” and has done just that.
The first project came in 2021 when We Are Pleasanton raised $225,000 toward a badly needed shade structure at Amador Valley High.
The project was completed within one year, thanks in large part to the role Pleasanton Partnerships in Education (PPIE) played in working with We Are Pleasanton.
We Are Pleasanton is once again working with PPIE, as well as the Three Valleys Community Foundation, a newly formed local organization.
Three Valleys Community Foundation works with donors and nonprofits to achieve their impact goals through inclusive leadership, thoughtful funding, informed giving, and collaborative action. They serve the entire Tri-Valley region, including the communities of Alamo, Danville, Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton, San Ramon and Sunol.
“PPIE was honored to facilitate the We Are Pleasanton campaign to build a shade structure at Amador Valley High School in 2021 and Three Valleys is proud to serve the school community with this campaign at Foothill,” said Steve McCoy-Thompson, the PPIE Executive Director and co-founder of the Three Valleys Community Fund.
The second project was going to be the athletic fields at Pleasanton Middle School, which are a total disaster.
After the Foothill issues were brought to light, and the price of the PMS project continued to climb, a decision was made to change direction.
“The PMS bids were in the multi-millions,” said Utikal. “Foothill needs the help and it’s a project we feel we can get done.”
The cost of the Foothill improvements is $950,000, with We Are Pleasanton shooting to raise the first $250,000. When they reach that goal, the remainder of the funding will come from the school district.
There is already $25,000 in the fund, of which $10,000 has come from the Foothill sites fund. Service Champions, SideTrack Bar+Grill, Tom and Ali Hall and Joe and Janet Cristiano have already contributed.
The plan goes much deeper than just the improvements to the stadium.
The repairs and improvements will benefit the entire student body and multiple sports, including the annual Band Review, improving accessibility for students and their families.
Following are the bullet points for the Foothill project:
* Retrofit the football stadium to improve accessibility
* Adding a ramp from upper stadium level to field level
* Repairing and lighting pathways from the parking lot to the stadium
* Leveling elevations at stadium entrance
* Building outdoor basketball courts
* Adding accessible parking and paths to baseball field
* New sound system at stadium
Foothill principal Sebastian Bull is feeling blessed for the efforts from the group. He is looking forward to all the additions, including the outdoor basketball courts.
“Our PE has no outdoor basketball courts,” said Bull. “When I got here, I wondered why that was the case.”
Many would consider Utikal’s timeline for the project unrealistic, but that is his style. See it, get it!
“We want to have our money raised by June 3,” said Utikal. “And the goal is to have it done by August 11.”
The June 3 date is that the target as the group wants to be able to announce the success at the Foothill graduation on June 3.
“To break ground June 5 may seem aggressive, but it’s almost all grading and cementing that needs to be done,” said Bull.
We Are Pleasanton is an organization needed in every community -- groups that specifically target a need and then zero in on making it happen.
For more information, or to donate, please go to www.wearepleasanton.com.
Sign up for Tri-Valley Preps Playbook, a free e-newsletter covering high school sports in the Valley, here.