Fieldhouse of Dreams
Posted: 4/30/2014

Written by:
Nicholas Baltz & Lee Bosh /Sun Staff

FHAfter three years, $40 million and a whole lot of unexpected water, Southwestern College Athletic Director Terry Davis is ready to party. A re-invented DeVore Stadium is scheduled to open August 15.

“We’re looking at having a rededication ceremony,” he said. “We are going to advertise to the community and the Devore family will be there. We’re going to invite back athletes and show our community what we’re doing.”

That grand opening almost got washed away in a great flood. Balfour Beatty Construction suffered a setback when crew members hit water on the bank of the hill where the field house was being built.

Justin Maletic, project manager for Balfour Beatty, said the company solved the issue with a canyon drain system.

“When we dug down we hit this body of water, basically an underground aquifer and had quite a bit of water coming out of the wall,” he said. “We put in horizontal drains and basically relieved the hydrostatic pressure behind the wall. (We) eventually diverted it under the building to drain into the sewage system.”

SWC construction consultant Mark Claussen said the water issues set the project back six months.

“That was quite an event when we hit that water,” he said. “That’s a good reason sometimes to shut a project down and scratch your head a little bit come up with an answer. We couldn’t afford to do that, so really we were planning, designing and building at the same time to work around it.”

Maletic said the stadium will be ready for the fall sports season. Now the goal is to finish the building in time for classes in August. The field house consists of four floors, with two elevators and exterior staircases to give an open design, with access to all levels of the facility. The first floor will have locker rooms and showers for football, soccer, visiting teams and officials, as well as an aqua-therapy pool.

A weight room occupies the second floor for use by the football team and the public. It will be separated so that a power lifting class can take place while students workout. Glass windows will allow people a view and allow sunlight into the building. Locker rooms and restrooms are also on this floor.

Four classrooms for kinesiology and sports therapy will make up the third story. They will each seat about 40 students and will be equipped with digital touch screen boards and central Wi-Fi. In front of these classrooms will be a patio area with box seating for a unique end-zone view of the stadium. Next to the classrooms will be a lecture hall with a 25-foot projector screen, for guest speakers, lectures and athletes.

Football coach Ed Carberry said he is eager to use the new facility.

“The thing that excites me the most is that theater,” he said. “Instead of a 70-seat room we’re going to have a 140-seat theater to have a team meeting where we can get everybody in at one time without guys lying on the floor in a not-very-instructional mode. That will be awesome.”

The fourth floor holds offices for the dean and the health and exercise science staff, as well as tutoring rooms.

Devore Stadium will also be the new home of Jaguar’s soccer. A new synthetic field will have a cooling system for hot days and a drainage system for wet weather. It will be marked with both football and soccer lines, with offsetting colors to differentiate what lines are in play. This is very common for high schools and colleges with turf fields, said Claussen.

Men’s soccer coach Cem Tont said he is a soccer purist by nature who believes the game should always be played on grass, but said he sees the benefits to playing on a new turf.

“It’s a little bit narrow for soccer standards, but we are very flexible,” he said. “As a college coach, I look at things a bit differently. What matters are the players. You play in a great venue, you attract more people, psychologically there are benefits.”

Tont also said the fierce rivalry with San Diego City College could become a big local attraction.

“I’d like to maybe get a couple of night games, [City] can bring their fans down to,” he said. “We don’t really have professional soccer in San Diego, so things might develop.”

Balfour Beatty Construction Superintendent Tyler Steele said the field house could earn lead silver ranking for sustainability.

“The U.S. Green Building Council certifies building based on a number of criteria all related to sustainability, such as energy efficiency, day lighting, environmental footprints and what it’s made of,” said Steele. “If you can buy organic for a building and get your building products from close by, you save money.”

Press boxes, concessions and restrooms have been completed, said Steele. A central plant building will house a mechanical system for the field house and three other buildings on site, but has capacity to handle all of the heating and cooling systems on the campus.

Davis said the finished product will model the way SWC building projects go.

“This is the new future of Southwestern College, we’re rebuilding the college bit by bit,” said Davis. “This is what Southwestern can do with imagination and all parties being involved. We were very happy that our architects did what our students wanted.”

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