Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Former Google Engineer Donates $250,000

South Lake Tahoe, Calif. — According to the San Diego Union Tribune, a former Google Inc. software engineer has donated $250,000 to replace a Lake Tahoe track that was used to provide high-elevation training for American runners competing in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

Ray Sidney's contribution puts the $2.2 million fund-raising drive for a new track and athletic field at South Tahoe Middle School over the top, organizers said.

The Lake Tahoe Unified School Board is scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to put the project out to bid. Supporters hope the work can be completed by August. The track is plagued by a cracked surface, a tendency to collect puddles and uneven lanes. Plans call for it to be replaced by a nine-lane track with an artificial field in the middle.

Sidney, a triathlete who moved to Lake Tahoe after the Internet search engine went public and who now owns a real estate development company, made the largest private monetary donation to the project and is no stranger to philanthropy. His past donations include $200,000 for Kahle Community Center's weight room in Stateline and $1.7 million for a state-of-the-art football field and track at Douglas High School in nearby Minden.

“I'm a bit of an easy mark maybe,” Sidney joked.

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