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Galt Herald

Donated Track Opens at Marengo Ranch

May 29, 2024 02:37PM ● By Matthew Malone

Marengo Ranch Elementary School students run on the school’s newly built dirt track. S+B James Construction donated the track. Photo by Matthew Malone

Marengo Ranch Track [3 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
GALT, CA (MPG) - A running track donated by a local construction company officially opened to students on May 22 at Marengo Ranch Elementary School.
S+B James Construction installed the dirt track at no cost to the district. The construction cost was estimated at $250,000. After years of advocating for a track, the school’s physical education teacher said the new amenity would boost his ability to keep students active.
Students assembled on the grass, with signs expressing their thanks, just a few yards away from the 200-meter track and long jump runway. They listened as Marengo Ranch Principal Jennifer Porter thanked the various groups who had made the track possible, including S+B James and the district administration.
She credited PE teacher Geoffrey Jumper as the “driving force” behind the construction.
Jumper said he brought up his request for a track at the school’s Parent-Teacher-Kid-Club and word eventually reached S+B James President Silas Nigam, whose son attends the school. About a year later, Jumper’s longtime wish became reality.
Speaking to the students, Jumper recalled how his daughter found her passion for track and field when other sports didn’t appeal to her.
“You’re all athletes. You don’t have to play a sport like baseball or soccer to be an athlete,” Jumper said. “So we can finally run, not on the blacktop, not during recess where we’re bumping into people. … We can run on a great surface now, and you can get more fit than you already are.”
S+B James has contracted with the school district on multiple projects, including a renovation at Marengo Ranch five years ago. Galt Joint Union Elementary School District Superintendent Lois Yount praised the company’s fairness, honesty and safety.
After all the speeches, Jumper did a ribbon cutting and invited the students onto the track.
Jumper told the Herald that it is “amazing” to have a running track at Marengo Ranch. Even before his recent transition from teaching first grade to physical education, he worked with the after-school fitness program Runnin’ for Rhett.
“Our grass is pitted, so I wouldn’t even take kids out here to run, and running on the blacktop is just so bad for joints, and so I’ve been begging to get a track,” Jumper said.
Jumper said students would run the mile on the track, as well as 200- and 400-meter runs. 
He also planned to teach them various relay formats. 
Physical activity helps children concentrate on their studies and improve their behavior.
“So the more active they are in actual movement, not just sitting on a tablet or on a phone, they do better academically,” Jumper said.