The new sports complex will include multiple updated amenities for athletes, faculty, students and spectators.
Saddleback held a 20 minute groundbreaking event to mark the beginning of construction on its new sports arena project that features 8,000 seats, three turf fields, a nine-lane running track, storage for sports equipment and multiple bathroom facilities on March 12. The event included speeches from the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees President Tim Jemal, Saddleback College President Gregory Anderson, Head Football Coach Mark McElroy, student athlete Tony Williams and Jennifer Beall, a district director for California State Assemblyman Bill Brough.
South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees President Tim Jemal presenting a speech at the Saddleback College stadium groundbreaking celebration on Monday, March 12. (Ashley Hern)
The new sports complex had a revised contract total of $50,900,090 after an approved Change Order in December 2016 for $1,900,190 . The change order would incorporate concrete floors in the stadium, an Emergency Vehicle Access area, allow the conversion of the football practice field from natural to artificial turf, have Mondo Surfacing in the team room and add a trash enclosure for water quality management. The revised contract total fits within the new stadium’s approved project budget of $62,230,000.
The SOCCCD’s Board of Trustees approved the Saddleback College Stadium and Site Improvement project design-build agreement with PCL Construction Services, one of eight potential vendors, for the project based upon factors that included price, technical expertise, design excellence, life cycle costs, skilled labor force availability, safety record, management plan and interviews in August 2016. The college estimates that the concept will be in total completion during the spring semester in 2019.
“I envision that the college will become the hub for all of south Orange County,” said Gregory Anderson in a statement. “The college will be able to serve the region in so many ways. In addition to our own sports and events, we are looking forward to hosting large community events, concerts, and regional and state sport championships, while continuing to use this very large classroom to teach our student-athletes.”
The South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees’ members and Saddleback College President Gregory Anderson breaking the ground on the new stadium project at Saddleback College on Monday, March 12. (Ashley Hern)
The original stadium’s construction occured in 1969. It contained 4,500 seats, restrooms built outside of the facility, an eight-lane track, as well as a press box with grandstands that did not meet ADA standards or regulations. In the 2006 Educational and Facilities Master Plan the previous college president, Richard McCullough, expressed the physical education and athletics department’s need for a new artificial playfield in the stadium, new restroom facilities, a new concession stand and improved stadium visitor seating. In 2009, a resurfacement project occurred for the stadium’s eight-lane track due to maintenance and durability concerns.
“It is always great to play on grass,” said Mark McElroy when presenting the project’s update at a SOCCCD board meeting in August 2017. “The difficulty with grass is just the maintenance of it and when you have a use of it, it breaks down pretty quickly. The service we have got, cool turf or cool play that is going into it, that reduces the temperature of the field by about 30 degrees. That was a big plus for us to be able to put into the field turf because my number one concern as a coach was the safety of the athletes.”
Student athlete, Tony Williams, performing a speech at the Saddleback College groundbreaking celebration on Monday, March 12. (Ashley Hern)
The floor plan in the program validation and schematic design that Saddleback College and PCL Construction developed for the athletic stadium in November 2016 depicts three women’s and men’s restrooms, two restrooms labeled as “G.N.R” and two unlabeled restrooms by a building designated as “Ice Room / Training.” The East program at field level shows a total of 2,886 square feet designated for football, soccer and track and field storage.
“One of the special features that we do have, that was put into this project by the designer is a viewing deck,” said Mary Opel, the SOCCCD’s director of site development when presenting the project’s update in August 2017. “So at the very top of the bleachers, on the home side, there will be this viewing deck under the elevated press box.”
The new sports complex will have the ability to host CIF-Southern Section requirement for semifinal postseason games. According to Coach McElroy, during its construction the football team will conduct its practices at Saddleback College and schedule its games at Mission Viejo High School.