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MEASURE G: John Glenn High begins work on new football stadium, athletic fields

 

 

Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District superintendent Dr. Hasmik Danielian (fifth from the left), other board members and dignitaries put their shovels in the ground to signify the groundbreaking of John Glenn High’s new athletic fields, which are due to be completed in December.

 

By Loren Kopff

@LorenKopff on Twitter

 

When the 2019 high school football season begins, the John Glenn High players won’t have to worry about getting on a bus for their home games, which have been at Excelsior Stadium. Groundbreaking on new synthetic turf sports fields, an on-campus football stadium and accessory buildings began on Jan. 18 with many members of the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District, school personnel, band members and cheerleaders in attendance, among others.

Glenn is receiving $25 million out of the $375 million that the school district received from the Measure G bond that voters approved back on Nov. 4, 2014.

“What this project is going to do for us is continue to build a culture of success, which we’re working on in the classroom and now outside the classroom,” said Glenn first-year assistant principal and NLMUSD board member Leonard Shryock.

“The athletic renovation project is a huge blessing,” said Glenn co-athletic director Linda Parra. “Measure G being passed by the community members in Norwalk and La Mirada was huge. This allowed our school district to get the much-needed funding to improve many of our district school facilities.”

By the time the groundbreaking ceremonies had begun, the old baseball dugouts and fences had already been removed, as well as the softball dugouts and fences. The new football stadium, which will be situated on the southwestern side of the back of the school, will have bleacher seating for 2,500 spectators, lights, a press box and a synthetic track surface.

North of the stadium will be the new baseball field and northeast of the football stadium, or southeast of the baseball stadium, depending on how you view it, will be the new softball field. Both the baseball and softball fields will have synthetic surfaces as well and lights.

There will also be a ticket booth, and a sports building which will include a concession stand, team rooms, restrooms and storage rooms, which will serve the football and soccer programs. According to Estuardo A. Santillan, Assistant Superintendent, Business Services for the NLMUSD, Bernards is the construction management firm and USS Cal Builders is the general contractor.

The target date for completion is December of this year and while there are no incentives to get the project done by the end of this year, Santillan said there will be liquidated damages of $1,000 per day for finishing the project after the completion date.

“The project is set to take 365 days to be completed,” Parra said. “I do anticipate extra time will be needed because that just naturally happens with huge projects. My hope is that we can continue by spring 2019 and play our spring season at home and host a few games under the lights.”

Glenn’s new athletic fields and stadium was long overdue as the Eagles have had to share an outdated Excelsior Stadium with their crosstown rivals, Norwalk High. The field at Excelsior Stadium had been so bad in recent years that not too long ago, both Glenn and Norwalk held regular season and playoff home games at Goodman Stadium at La Mirada High. The press box at Excelsior Stadium was rotting due to the infestation of termites, paint was peeling on the outside and the inside was not cleaned on a regular basis and the bleachers, for the most part on the home side, were also not cleaned on a regular basis.

Closer to home, the Glenn softball and soccer teams had to navigate through the numerous gopher holes that caused a star softball player to roll her ankle upon stepping in one of them during practice several years and miss half of a season. But now, all those problems will be a distant memory because of the synthetic surface, which Parra says is much easier to maintain than that of natural grass.

“Our district was great that [co-athletic director and Glenn baseball head coach] Jack [Brooks] and I were able to go visit several schools and look at their athletic facilities that had turf to see what we like the best,” Parra said. “Mater Dei allowed us to take a look at their baseball field, which is all turf with the exception of the pitching mound, which is what we went with.”

 

 

 

Rendering of new sports field at John Glenn.

 

 

Santillan said, that based on a case study provided to the NLMUSD, the estimated maintenance cost per event on a natural turf field is $1,362 and the estimated cost per event on a synthetic turf field is $385.  A synthetic field surface will greatly benefit the soccer teams, who can now play in the rain and not worry about deep puddles.

Once Measure G passed, there were still several events that took place leading up to the groundbreaking. A month after Measure G passed, the architectural and engineering services were released. In the early part of 2015, the Phase 1 projects were approved. Last month, the board approved the stadium scope for the Glenn High project and earlier this month, the board approved the construction bid for the Glenn project.

“When they passed the bond in 2014, we did it a little differently than the 2003 bond,” Shryock said. “The plans really weren’t set before we asked for the money. The voters passed it, we got the money from the community and then we started prioritizing. So, that was probably in 2015-2016 was the conversation of [upgrading] fields at Norwalk High School and John Glenn High School.

“We wanted to do something at La Mirada High School,” he continued. “Their turf is in need of replacement because they’re overdue. So, there are just a lot of needs. I was just watching it from a far how the board was having the conversation of where to start and fortunately for us, they selected John Glenn.”

Both Parra and Shryock believe that in time, there will be the possibility for Norwalk’s football team to use Glenn’s stadium.

“In the short run, that is a possibility, because I know there are plans in the pipeline,” Shryock said. “That is completely possible and I’m completely open to that. They don’t have to go all the way to La Mirada; they can come here. Being a community member, I’m more than willing to pay my money on my tax bill to help all the students at Norwalk.”

“I believe we will continue to work together as a school district to support each other as needed,” Parra said.

Parra added that for this to happen, she had asked Glenn’s coaching staff, students and parents to attend three to four board meetings to express their concerns and need for a stadium project with lights. Everyone knew that a new stadium was possible but up until this past November, the project did not include lights. In one of the votes, the issuance of stadium lights was passed by a 4-3 vote.

 

 

 

 

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