Tom Leavitt has seen firsthand the benefits of the Walnut Grove Secondary track and field program.
So when he heard the program was looking for some much-needed upgrades to their facilities, he was more than happy to help, to the tune of a $100,000 private donation.
“My kids all went to Walnut Grove and they were all on the track team,” he explained. “And I know (coach) Gary Lutes — he has done a great job and we are proud of what he has done there and want to help him.”
Leavitt’s five children were all members of the Gators track and field program.
And while they are adults now — ranging in age from 26 to 38 — two of them still live in Walnut Grove, and Leavitt’s eldest grandson is enrolled at Walnut Grove Secondary for the fall.
Leavitt is also hoping others in the community may want to step up and offer their financial support as well.
Work is underway on repairing the existing six-lane track as well as the long jump.
That part of the project is being funded through the Langley School District and the Township of Langley and is expected to be completed by the start of the school year.
While Lutes acknowledges the school is fortunate to have a six-lane track — not all schools are so lucky — the long-time coach has aspired to offer more for one of the province’s premier track and field programs.
“Since we have started, we have wished we had other track facilities, such as high jump, pole vault, discus circles, cages,” explained Lutes.
“(Just) the ability to offer a better training for our team. This will only make our program better.”
Lutes said the contractor — Langley’s Ocean Marker Sport Surfaces — has provided a quote for the remaining work and while they refurbish the track, they will rough in the foundation and do the drainage work for the additional features of the expanded project.
The $100,000 donation is just under half of the $210,000 which is needed for the entire project to be completed.
That amount does not include any new equipment or storage.
Anyone wanting to donate to the project can do via cheque to Langley School District No. 35, and tax receipts will be issued. The District is also hoping to implement an online donation system very soon.