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Kofa MCJROTC opens new performance and parade field

Kofa's JROTC PT class Kofa High School Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) has been ranked among the best in the nation for the past three years. Now, they have a facility that reflects their stature.

On Wednesday, Mar. 10, 2021, Kofa MCJROTC leaders Sgt Maj Colen Laarman and Maj Todd Birney along with Kofa Career & Technical Education (CTE) Instructional Leader Norm Champagne, and Yuma Union High School District CTE Executive Director Lorie Honeycutt showcased a new, state-of-the-art performance and parade field located on the northwest corner of the Kofa campus.

“The kids are ecstatic,” Maj Birney said. “They are happy to be back at school. We are getting increased number every day this month and part of it is because of this field.”

The Kofa MCJROTC program has been named a prestigious Naval Honors Program for two-consecutive years and consistently is competitive on the national level in several events, including drill and rifle events. More than 130 Kofa students take part in the program.

The new facility, which is a 100-foot by 120-foot artificial turf field emblazoned with the Kofa shield in its center, is utilized for physical training exercises before and during school as well as drill work, uniform inspection and more.

“We are using it every day,” Maj Birney said. “From PT at 0600 to drill to uniform inspection to classroom PT, we are out there.”

Work on the project, which cost $484,742, included partnerships with Southwest Technical Education District of Yuma (STEDY), Thompson Design, Arcadis, McCarthy Construction, Dahl Robins Civil Engineering, GTS, TCB Painting, and SW Turf Supply. It was conceived from a conceptual drawing by Sgt Maj Laarman in 2018 and made a reality as one of more than two dozen CTE remodeling or new construction projects across. YUHSD this year.

Sgt Maj Laarman, who was at the helm of the program when a vacant dirt lot was the site for drill work and training, said he appreciates the significant difference the new facility has made in morale and safety.

“There were certain times of year, when the wind picked up, and the dust would just [blow all over us] out there,” Sgt Maj Laarman said. “The kids would literally rake and water the dirt to keep the dust down. They could sprain ankles due to the uneven ground. Now that sort of thing is eliminated and our cadets can focus on their work in a beautiful new setting.”

Eric Patten
epatten@yumaunion.org