New artificial turf fields at John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica have opened for students and community youth sports teams.

Youth soccer teams stepped on the turf for the first time Saturday, November 1st, to inaugurate the use of the new fields, complete with the same artificial turf used by many NFL and college teams, new fencing and new lights.

John Adams students then kicked off the use of the outdoor complex Monday, November 3rd.

The $3 million project was funded by Measure S, a 2002 Santa Monica College bond measure, and was a result of cooperative planning involving the college, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and the City of Santa Monica.

“This project demonstrates what a great community this is, where government agencies come together to create something that can be used by the college, our students and the community at large,” said Michael Hill, community recreation facilities coordinator for the school district.

The athletic complex — which had been heavily used by the middle school, SMC and the community — consists of a field soccer, one for either soccer or football, and one for softball.

The facility replaces a complex of grass fields, which had to be closed periodically for rain or for re-seeding. Because of their new FieldTurf surface, the fields’ use can now be increased by as much as one-third, Hill said.

The fields are used during school days by John Adams students for physical education classes and for unstructured recreation during recess and lunch breaks. After hours, the fields are used by the city’s Youth Sports program and by community groups such as American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) and Pony League teams.

“It’s a beautiful new field and the kids have been looking longingly at it since school started,” said John Adams principal Martha Shaw. “The students here have lots of energy to burn, and they’re eager to use those fields during lunch breaks. I think the whole community is excited about it.”

AYSO had scheduled 11 games November 1st, beginning in the morning, and on November 2nd the fields were used for soccer scrimmages, practices and drills, said Maryanne LaGuardia, an AYSO executive board member.

“We are very excited about this new field,” LaGuardia said. “It’s a tremendous asset to have a field of this quality. Nothing in this city is equal to this, so this will be a real pleasure to play on.”

The John Adams fields had also been used by the SMC women’s soccer team for practice and games, but those have been moved to the college’s Corsair Field, which also recently got a FieldTurf surface for both soccer and football. The John Adams field will now be used for practice and games by the SMC women’s softball team, which previously played in city parks.