By LANCE ARMSTRONG, Valley Community Newspapers writer
For the past six months, Hughes Stadium on the campus of Sacramento City College has been receiving its well-deserved renovation.
After all, the stadium has brought many memories to its thousands upon thousands of guests, as it has hosted many local sporting events and other attractions throughout the lifespan of about any living Sacramentan today.
The first events in the stadium’s history – football games between Sacramento and Modesto high schools and Sacramento and Santa Rosa junior colleges – were held on Saturday, Oct. 13, 1928.
The renovation of Hughes Stadium began on March 14, following the passage of Measure M – the Los Rios Community College District’s $475 million bond program – and design work, which began in 2009.
A brief description of this measure, which required the approval of 55 percent of the voters, was presented to voters through the following question: “Shall the Los Rios Community College District be authorized to issue $475 million in bonds at the lowest available interest rates to improve student academic performance by building classrooms, facilities and labs throughout the district, including for teaching green technologies; nursing and health care programs; architecture, engineering and construction management; computer sciences; early childhood development; and fire and police public safety programs at the American River, Cosumnes River, El Dorado, Folsom and Sacramento City College campuses?”
Also presented on the bond project list for Sacramento City College were: the construction of additional classrooms and student service facilities at the West Sacramento Educational Center and Davis Educational Center, the modernization and/or replacement of classrooms at the Lusk Building, the modernization and/or replacement of classrooms at Lillard Hall, including those which house the sciences, nursing and healthcare support courses, new instructional space, including space for green technology training, the modernization of the Administration of Justice facility, a new bookstore and cafeteria space, new parking facilities and parking improvements at the college’s West Sacramento and Davis centers, and infrastructure improvements throughout the main campus.
The architect for the stadium project, which has a budget of $9.9 million, is the Lionakis Beaumont Design Group of Sacramento, and the general contractor, which won the bid for the project, is Moorefield Construction, also of Sacramento.
The renovation of the stadium, which includes work toward halting the water infiltration problem around the stadium, was divided into four phases, the first of which was Phase A.
Phase A consisted of the removal of seating structures in the horseshoe end of the stadium, cleaning the concrete deck, placing three coats of industrial waterproofing on the concrete deck, painting all ironwork, installing new aluminum bench seating with a fiberglass overlay, performing structural remediation work and interior renovations of all team, locker and weight rooms.
The latter mentioned project featured adding new paint, new showers, new bathrooms and new locker rooms.
Phase B consists of similar seating work on the east side of the stadium, the construction of a seating platform and a complete interior renovation of the visitors’ public concourse, which includes concessions and restrooms.
Greg Hayman, director of operations at the college, said that Phase B began ahead of schedule.
“Phase B was not scheduled to occur until August through November, but (Phase B began) early,” Hayman said. “We gave them the east side seats in order to be able to finish (in time for last Saturday’s) Holy Bowl, which is (the football game between) Jesuit and Christian Brothers (high schools), which draws a big crowd. So, we needed the seats back in by then. Instead, the Holy Bowl would have had to go elsewhere this year. We worked the schedule to get it done early and the contractor signed up to getting it back to us (early). We liked to accommodate (the Holy Bowl). That’s a great day of games and it’s got a history here and we certainly like to support that. It’s a great fundraiser for those schools.”
Although the concessions and restroom areas were not completed in time for the Holy Bowl, arrangements were made for alternative facilities.
Hayden added that elevators will be installed on both sides of the stadium by the middle part of next month to accommodate upper level, Americans with Disabilities Act approved seating.
The third phase of the project – Phase C – is obviously a very important phase for many locals, since this phase features work on the west or home side of the stadium.
Seat removal, waterproofing and the placement of new seats, as well as the interior renovation of the home public concourse, will also be performed during this phase.
The old, two-level press box will be removed and replaced by a single-story press box.
This phase will begin in December, following the college’s home football season, and will continue until May, according to the stadium’s construction schedule.
After the completion of the seating areas, press box, lighting, sound system and other earlier projects, the first three rows around the stadium will be demolished and ramps and ADA access seating will be constructed within this area.
And once this part of Phase D, which is scheduled to begin in June, is complete, the track and field will be removed and artificial turf will be added to the field area and a new track surface will be added in place. The new track surface will extend to an area at the south end of the stadium.
All the field events, which are currently held in the stadium, such as the pole vault, long jump and triple jump, will be near, but outside the stadium.
Hayman said that the decision to change the location of these field events was made in order that a full-sized soccer field could be included inside the stadium.
Currently, the stadium’s renovation, which will not alter the structure’s façade, is about 40 percent complete.
Funding through Measure M obviously covered many costs. Nonetheless, the college was hoping that the issue would also cover a new scoreboard, a new sound system for the stadium, air conditioning for the locker rooms and an area dedicated to the recognition of the school’s most notable athletes.
Hayman said that the school will attempt to have these features paid for through other resources.
Although the current project is scheduled to be completed by Sept. 8, 2012, this date represents the end of the contractor’s portion of the project. The actual installation of the track is a separate contract and could possibly be completed after this aforementioned date.
But Hayman said that attempts will be made to have the entire project completed by the same date.
Hayman added that the project has been an overall success thus far.
“We’ve had a few challenges trying to accommodate construction with the ongoing use of the facility and we’ve taken great care to keep the construction separate from the student areas, and it’s working fine up to this point. We understand and realize that some accommodations need to be made on both the school’s and the construction contractor’s part to make it happen.”
In conclusion, Hayman said that once completed, Hughes Stadium will finally have the renovation that it has needed for many years.
“(Hughes Stadium) is a great old place, but it was definitely in need of a facelift and some rehab to ensure that it stays around for a while,” Hayman said.