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DEL MAR, Calif. — A $45 million redevelopment plan for Del Mar Heights Elementary School sparked controversy after the Del Mar Union School District decided to remove baseball fields from the design plan.

Residents have started a petition to save the field and the open space. “They learned right here to throw a ball, how to hit a ball,” said T.Pat Stubbs, a local resident.

T.Pat’s son, Garrett Stubbs, started his baseball career at the Del Mar Heights field and made it to Major League Baseball, even playing with the Astros in the World Series. “This is the type of field of dreams that kids need,” T.Pat said.

The school district released the following statement on its redevelopment plans to FOX 5: “The District has worked diligently to engage the community through seven open public meetings that identified the priorities for the Del Mar Heights School Rebuild and helped to develop the design for this project. While the plans are becoming more firm, District staff continues to be open to community input and will continue to work with our architects to make updates and adjustments to the plans as we move into the next steps of the design process.”

The school redevelopment is being paid for with Measure MM funds. The next school design meeting is scheduled for Nov. 20 in Del Mar.