The Hughson Unified School District this week signaled that its long-term plans call for an elementary campus on the city's only athletic fields.
Hughson Unified Superintendent Brian Beck said it's unlikely the baseball and softball diamonds at Lebright Fields will see much of a change in the next five years.
But eventually, the district would use the site for a school. The timeline depends on how fast Hughson grows.
"When the time is right, that's the best place to put the new elementary school," Beck said.
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Development in Hughson is on hold for the time being because the city does not have waste-water treatment capacity for new homes.
Beck said several ball fields likely will remain at the site even if an elementary school is built there.
Nonetheless, Hughson City Council members are concerned about construction at Lebright Fields because residents do not have another place for kids to play baseball or softball.
"I just want to make sure that area stays viable for local youth sports," Councilman Stephen Qualls said.
Zoning limits district's options
Councilman Greg Adams said the school district has limited options for building at the site because its zoning designation prohibits residential development. That would prevent the district from selling the land to a home builder if its plans change.
"It's their property, and I can't see homes," Adams said. "It's not zoned for homes; we have no sewer for homes. There's just no way."
Beck said the city would have the first right to buy the land if the district changes course, but an agreement between the city and the school board that ends in July would take away that privilege.
Adams said he'd like the city and school district to find a solution that works for each of them.
"If they have to build a school, they have to build a school," Adams said. "But I don't see why the softball fields can't stay."
Bee staff writer Adam Ashton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2366.