A new artificial turf field, a resurfaced track and new stadium lighting will soon come to Santa Monica College’s (SMC) Corsair Field.

Construction on the $2.7 million project — funded through bond Measure S, which passed in 2004 — started last week and is expected to be completed at the beginning of September, said SMC athletic director Rhonda Hyatt.

“It’s a big project,” notes Greg Brown, SMC’s director of Facilities Planning. “It’ll take all summer to do.”

Says Hyatt, “The tractors are out there right now. I’m really excited. It’s been a long time coming.”

Corsair Field, which was built in 1947 and seats 4,500, is SMC’s only field space and is frequently used by the college, Santa Monica High School, private schools and the community.

“It’s so heavily used, especially in the fall, that once we’ve had a few football games on it and rainstorms, it really gets in bad shape,” Brown said.

However, with a turf field, Brown and Hyatt said this will no longer be a problem.

“We’re really looking forward to having a field that’s in good condition all year long regardless of the weather,” Brown said.

There are many benefits to a turf field at SMC, he adds.

“It’s an environmentally friendly type of field because there is no water use and there is no fertilizer,” Brown says. “And it’s much easier to maintain. You don’t have to mow the lawn. That saves not only labor, but energy.”

The new stadium lighting will also be upgraded to be more efficient and will use less energy, said Hyatt.

“Our field was poorly lit before,” she said. “Now we’ll have better lighting.”

The lighting system has been the same since the field was first constructed.

The track has not been resurfaced since 1990.

“The surface usually has a lifetime of eight to ten years, so we’re well overdue,” Hyatt said.

Hyatt noted she’s especially excited that the new turf field will finally allow for the college’s women’s soccer team to practice and compete at Corsair Field.

“Before, the field was not set up properly for soccer,” Brown says, adding that competitive soccer games could not be played on the field as a result. “Now we will have a combination football/soccer field.”

Until construction is complete, the women’s soccer team will practice and compete at the Santa Monica Airport Field.

Hyatt expects that renovations to Corsair Field will be completed in early September, with the field ready for use in early October.

“We’re very excited,” says Brown.

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