Oroville School Board approves naming district facilities for Tam Hutchinson and Harold Jensen

The late teacher-coaches Harold Jensen and Tam Hutchinson were recently honored with facilities named after them at Oroville High School. Dedication planned for May 17<h6 style="text-align: right;"><em>Gary DeVon/G-T File Photo </em></h6>

The late teacher-coaches Harold Jensen and Tam Hutchinson were recently honored with facilities named after them at Oroville High School. Dedication planned for May 17Gary DeVon/G-T File Photo

During the February meeting, the Oroville School Board approved a recommendation from the facilities naming committee to recognize the service and contributions of long time Oroville teachers/coaches Tam Hutchinson and Harold Jensen.

The board recently approved a policy outlining the procedure for requesting to name a school facility. This included listing biographical information, significant contributions to the school/district and impact statements.

Hutchinson, “Hutch,” began working in the district as a coach in 1998, and began teaching in Oroville in 2000. He coached many sports in Oroville, including junior high wrestling and junior high football. He also served as the athletic director from 2013 – 2018. Hutchinson’s impact was felt in the classroom, hallways and on the field with students and athletes alike.

“There is no doubt Hutchinson was the heart and soul of Oroville High School baseball and football, serving as head baseball coach from 1998 and head football coach beginning in 2000, continuing both until his death,” wrote the naming committee in their recommendation to the board. “With the support of his wife Joyce and the Oroville Booster Club, the committee would like to name the drive beginning at the baseball field passing the football field through the student parking lot, Hutch’s Drive.”

They continued, “Those who deeply respected and loved the man will be able to fondly remember him when traveling Hutch’s Drive past the fields he spent so much of his life on, teaching and coaching his student athletes to be players, but above all else to be good people.”

Jensen began teaching in Oroville in 1989, continuing until his retirement in 2018. Jensen coached junior high football, junior high girls basketball, junior high track and was an assistant football coach for a season. He was the head high school track coach from 1995-2018.

“Harold made a significant impact in the lives of students and student athletes as both a teacher and as a coach. Track and field was Harold’s passion and his passion for the sport led to working with Tony Kindred to have the original rubber track installed in 2004,” the committee wrote. “Harold’s diligent effort and time spent working during the summer were key to Oroville’s original rubber track being the envy of schools down the valley. Many, many meets and invitationals were hosted in Oroville on the original rubber track. In 2013 Harold redesigned and built the Crow’s Nest that you see today when you stand on the track.”

Jensen once again donated his time and skills to the Oroville School District.

In their recommendation the naming committee also wrote, “The pouring of the new track has presented the perfect opportunity to honor Harold’s outstanding contribution to the Oroville School District by naming the track The Harold Jensen Track which is fully supported by his wife Chris, his family, and the Oroville Booster Club.”

The dedication of these facilities will take place on May 17, 2023, at the District Track Meet. Plans are being made to honor both men with a few brief words, followed by activities honoring the newly-named facilities. The festivities will begin at about 3:30 p.m., following the playing of the national anthem that will begin the track meet. The actual meet will continue after the ceremonies honoring these inspirational teacher-coaches.

Both men will also be recognized with plaques that will be placed in the High School.

Each plaque will have an engraving from a photograph and will include some information about Hutchinson’s and Jensen’s contributions to and impact in our school district.

An account is being set up at the Oroville Branch of Umpqua Bank for those who wish to contribute to the fund that will pay for the signage and plaques honoring these two Oroville educators/coaches.

“The Facility Naming Committee appreciates any assistance and is glad to be able to offer everyone the opportunity to show their support for these strong advocates for Oroville’s youth. If you stop by the bank, they will have the account number available for donations,” they stated.