Salinas’ new 6,000-seat, NCAA-regulation football and soccer stadium set to open fall 2013 will bring a premier sporting venue to the Salinas Valley.
“It’s going to be a first class stadium,” said Roger LaFountain, general manager of the Salinas Sports Complex. “It’s something Salinas can be proud of.”
Belli Architectural Group designed the new stadium being built at the Salinas Sports Complex and is shepherding the project through the permit process. Bellinger Foster Steinmetz is doing the design work for the outdoor areas, including the 90,000 square foot synthetic turf playing field.
Shaped like a bowl, the stadium will have a playing field 11 feet below grade, providing both athletes and spectators with a great game day experience. The stadium will feature 3,628 seats on the home side (facing east) and 1,400 seats on the visitor side (facing west). As typical of most professional stadiums, the field has a north-south orientation, which levels the playing field (so to speak) during afternoon football games when sun angles can be an issue.
Other features include a 3,000 square foot field house with locker rooms on the field level, two entrances, a barbeque and concession area and upper level booths for coaches, the press and announcers. A Salinas Valley Athletic Hall of Fame recognition area has been incorporated into the entry plaza to honor such athletic luminaries as Del Rodgers, Monica Abbott, Carl Nicks and Chris Dalman.
The 25-foot by 24-foot full-color scoreboard will include video capability. In addition, adjacent restrooms, built about 10 years ago, are being refurbished as part of the project.
The stadium will be home field for both Palma High School and North Salinas High School, but LaFountain said he expects the field will be heavily used by a variety of groups and sports, including high school all-star games, community college bowl games, football and soccer clinics, youth and premiere soccer leagues and even high school band competitions.
The stadium will also provide an outdoor recreation area for the nearby Boys and Girls Club, LaFountain said. The Boys and Girls Club, also designed by Belli, has had to limit enrollment because it doesn’t have any outside recreation area. Once the stadium is open, LaFountain said, the club will be able to increase capacity by about 40 percent.
Quite a few people, businesses and organizations have stepped up to make this project happen, LaFountain said, starting with Public Recreation Unlimited (PRU). Led by President Warren Wayland, PRU started fundraising about 18 months ago and has raised about $5 million on the way to its goal of $7 million. In recognition of Rabobank’s contributions, it will be called Rabobank Stadium. In the process of making this dream a reality, PRU has created an impressive model of public and private partnership.
The project is being entirely funded by private money, LaFountain said, and is benefitting from remarkable support from Salinas’ construction industry as well.
John Anderson, head of Hartnell College’s Center for Sustainable Design and Construction, is the project superintendent, LaFountain said. “We’re using the stadium as a classroom,” he said, with students from both Hartnell and Rancho Cielo working on the project along with Salinas-area construction professionals.
According to LaFountain, many professionals are providing services and materials at cost, or heavily discounted rates, cutting the cost of the stadium by about half.
The new stadium will be managed by the California Rodeo Association and is expected to be ready for the start of the 2013 football season. No matter what the scoreboard says, this project is a win for Salinas.