Saddleback Stadium looks to become the hub of South Orange County

College seeing progress on long awaited sports complex

View of construction progress (P.C. Corey Bross)

Saddleback College has been seeing many renovations across campus within the last few years both for academic and extracurricular activities. Have you found yourself wondering why there has been so much construction going on at almost every corner on campus? Earlier this year in February, the baseball field got had a grand re-opening adding new bleachers, turf improvements and a press box behind home plate. Although taking a year later to open than planned, the new science building opened up in the fall of 2016. The addition of the three-story, 52,987 square-foot facility which was designed to be eco friendly, was much needed as older buildings on campus are starting to show their age quiet quickly. 

There was no aging case more apparent than the antiquated football stadium that was about to hit it’s 50th anniversary in 2019. Since opening in 1969, the multi-purpose stadium had issues and false promises to improve in every decade that passed. Issues included lack of seating (4,500), inadequate concession area and lack of restrooms located within the stadium. To say Saddleback was due for a new stadium/sports complex would be an understatement. Fans had to resort to sitting in bushes along the field’s north sideline and wait way longer than necessary for restrooms that were far away. Being dated led to problems with the stadium not being up to code with modern ADA accessibility requirements.

With a $55 million budget (identical to the budget of the new science building), construction has been moving at a fast pace with new improvements seen daily. What started with complete demolition of the old stadium and driving range, the foundation for the large project is set with underground development like plumbing and electrical aspects nearly finished. Besides the new stadium with a nine lane running track, concession areas, press box and ticket booths, there will also be new meeting and storage facilities where football, soccer, and track and field teams will have a place to congregate and store equipment. Along with revisions for ADA needs, athletes will now play on a synthetic turf field. This will brings maintenance costs down for years compared to a traditional grass field that most new stadiums are weening from. For students and fans excited for what the stadium has to offer, there are plans to have integrated Wi-Fi technology throughout and a new state of the art scoreboard.

Expect road closures until completion date later next year. (P.C. Corey Bross)

Not only benefiting the athletes who are going to be able to enjoy the facilities and all they have to offer, the community will also gain a lot from this project. The amount of events that can and will take place at Saddleback will profit everyone involved. For Saddleback, this also helps their aging image especially toward potential athletes that might have once decided not to attend because of the lack of modern athletic amenities.

“Everyone in our community, for sports, for entertainment, this is it, this will be the hub for South Orange County,” says Dr. Gregory Anderson, President of Saddleback College, at the groundbreaking ceremony earlier this year.

The timeline determined by the South Orange County Community College District has completion set for Fall of 2019. Expect more construction around the area resulting in road closure like this week. The Avery Parkway entrance will see intermittent closures from Monday, November 26 through Friday, December 7.