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Tue, Sept. 17

College: Keep racetrack off Old Home Manor

Concerned about their students' ability to learn, Yavapai College administrators came out publicly opposed to putting the Old Home Speedway, a proposed racetrack, at Old Home Manor.

The college operates an agribusiness campus on 80 acres of land there.

John Morgan, associate dean for Chino Valley, stated two weeks ago that the college may reconsider its plans to expand the campus using $3.5 million of a $69.5 million bond passed by voters in November 2000 if the Chino Valley Town Council approves the racetrack at Old Home Manor.

Morgan noted in a press release Friday that the college only objects to the close proximity to the college, not to having a racetrack in Chino Valley.

"I participated in motor cross for 10 years, and am one of racing's biggest advocates. It's a wonderful sport," Morgan said.

Morgan anticipates enrollment numbers to reach 600 in 2005 and 1,000 by 2007. He added that 65 percent of the students taking classes there take them at night because they work during the day.

Other college officials chimed in, as well.

"Given the proximity of Yavapai College's Agribusiness and Science Technology Center to the projected site, building and operating this racetrack would expose the college to a number of negative factors," YC President Dailey wrote in a letter to the council.

"Equine science is a core of the agribusiness technology program, and with our plans to switch a great deal of our equine training/riding classes to the weekends beginning this summer, the track poses a threat to both animals and humans.

"Additional noise from operations and intrusions due to sound amplification systems would be impediments to student learning. There is no doubt the sound will carry great distances across a wide-open Chino Valley, which does not have natural buffers." she wrote.

YC Executive Dean Bob Salmon expressed optimism in the press release that the issue will find a successful conclusion for the benefit of everyone with an interest in the college and the town.

"We continue to enjoy an excellent relationship with town elected officials, and the community. Old Home Manor is the best site for the Agribusiness and Science Technology Center," Salmon said. "We look forward to a prosperous future in Chino Valley, and are confident that elected officials will make the right decision."

The council plans to approve a revised agreement with the college. In the agreement, the town promises not to allow a motor-sports facility anywhere on Old Home Manor.

(Contact Lee Pulaski at lpulaski@prescottaz.com.)

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