By Southwestern Sun
DeVore Stadium has been football-free since Aug. 1, 2012. Yellow hard hats have replaced golden helmets, steel-toe boots trod the surface instead of cleats, construction bosses are barking orders rather than coaches.
Renovation of DeVore Stadium is the most visible and ambitious project in Phase 1 of Proposition R projects.
A 40,000 sq. ft. building will house faculty offices, a weight-lifting facility, locker rooms, an auditorium and four classrooms. Synthetic turf will be installed to replace the natural grass. These features are included in the central plant, field house and fields project, which amount to $49.5 million, more than half of the $90.2 million provided for Phase 1. The central plant alone will cost at least $35 million. Practice fields are included in the project, which means the renovation of DeVore Stadium, the field house and synthetic turf totaling approximately $14.5 million. Prop R is a $389 million project passed by voters in November 2008.
March 31, 2014 is the target completion date for the stadium. Terry Davis, dean of the school of health and athletics, said completion of football facilities will create a domino effect.
“When we’re finished, our (existing) area will be given to the math and science department,” he said. “And the School of Social Sciences, Business and Humanities will move to the Math, Science and Engineering area.”
Governing Board President Humberto Peraza said many current board members were not holding office when the original decisions about stadium renovations were made. He said improvements to academic facilities are a priority.
“I’m very excited about Math, Science and Engineering getting its own facilities over there (where the gym and P.E. buildings now exist),” said Peraza.
Head football coach Ed Carberry said he likes the idea of his players not having to run back-and-forth from class to class.
“The entire health department is gonna move there instead of being scattered all over campus,” he said.
Carberry said DeVore Stadium renovations will serve the entire district.
“We’re all gonna benefit,” said Carberry. “We’re supposed to be here, as a community college, for the community.”
Although the term “field house” is synonymous with sports, Davis said it will serve many purposes.
“Our facilities are used not only by students, not only by athletics, but by the community,” he said. “I always thought the field house to be an educational building sitting on a football field. All our facilities are used for exercise science, which is a transferable class to a four-year college. We get double the use by using it for athletics.”
Renovations were long overdue, according to Davis, since the athletics department was left out of the Prop AA bond more than 10 years ago.
“At some point you just have to build new,” he said. “And why not do it now when we have funds for it and it was approved?”