Update on Saddleback College’s new sports complex

Rendering of the Saddleback College’s new sports stadium.(Courtesy/Saddleback College)

The new sports complex for Saddleback College initiated construction back in 2018 with a cost of $55 million and a capacity of 8,000 seats. It was scheduled to open in fall of 2020, but has COVID-19 postponed its grand opening?

According to Elliot Stern, president of Saddleback College, this fall semester will also be part of online classes. Some students will be able to return to campus if they have certification requirements, but for the rest of us it looks like we have to get used to the new normal.

“We will not be bringing 20,000 students back to our campus this fall,” Stern says. “Nor 10,000. Nor 5,000. Because we cannot do so without compromising safety and running the risk of creating a nidus of infection in our community.”

Although it might take a while for students to return to on-campus classes, the sports complex continues construction despite the pandemic. Educational construction projects are identified as essential work; therefore, the planned timelines are still on track.  Some would expect delays in production because of COVID, but with $55 million on the line, there is no time to slow down.

“There have been no financial setbacks related to the pandemic and closure of on campus instruction and student support services,” says Jennie McCue, director of marketing and communications. “The stadium is still on schedule to be completed this summer.”

Saddleback continues adapting their staff for any outcomes. Either through Zoom or phone calls, the athletics division is on top of its game to keep our campus ready to go.

Our entire athletic department has been and continues to work remotely,” says Randy Totorp, athletics director and assistant dean. “We are planning for 2020-21 much like we would if we were on campus. We will be prepared to come back to campus as soon as it is safe and approved by the district.”

To give an exact date on a high value project like this can be challenging, but it seems like a July/August finalization of the sports complex is in sight.