The Santa Monica Community College District board of trustees voted Monday, January 10th, to hire Caldwell Architects to help renovate the Santa Monica College Corsair Field athletics stadium.
The vote is the first step towards major renovations of the historic 1948 field to accommodate college football and women’s soccer teams as well as community use.
The outdoor stadium has 4,800 seats and a press box and is on the Santa Monica College main campus at 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica.
Caldwell Architects, a Marina del Rey-area firm that previously worked on the Santa Monica College Library annex, will design and plan efforts to install an all-weather artificial turf surface on the playing field.
“With new technology, this is not the old kind of Astroturf. This is made from rubber, nylon and recycled products,” said Rhonda Hyatt, Santa Monica College athletic director.
Caldwell will be paid up to $35,000 for design services. The cost of artificial turf is estimated at $1 million.
Funding for the renovation project will come from Measure S, a $135 million bond measure approved by Santa Monica and Malibu voters last year.
“Santa Monica College is demonstrating its commitment, as stated in Measure S, to providing the community with playing fields, which are in such short supply,” Hyatt said. “At the same time, our football and women’s soccer teams will have upgraded facilities, and the college will no longer have to constantly repair damage to the grass surface.”
Hyatt said the women’s soccer teams have been playing on a John Adams Middle School field that belongs to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.
“The new turf provides an even playing surface, which helps players move the soccer ball across the field faster, and the teams get the advantage of competing on a home site,” Hyatt said.
She also said the even surface of artificial turf minimizes injury, especially in football and soccer.
Renovations will be designed to meet National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) standards for intercollegiate soccer play.
Corsair Field is currently dirt surface with little grass. Maintenance workers have to plant seeds and sod to create an ideal playing field.
Artificial turf will reduce maintenance time to tasks such as repairing seams that have come apart and sweeping away debris.
Football and soccer teams can use the same surface because the stadium has space wide enough for painting permanent yard and goal lines.
On a grass surface, lines are drawn with chalk before each game.
Renovations are scheduled to begin in May and completion is expected in late August.
During renovation, the Corsair Field track will continue to be open to students and the public most of the time.
COMMUNITY USE — Corsair Field is currently used by Santa Monica College and the community for football.
Santa Monica High School and St. Monica High School football teams play home games at the stadium.
Hyatt said the stadium has also hosted area championship and all-star games.
Corsair Field is also the site of the annual Santa Monica July 4th fireworks celebration, one of the largest attended events in the city.
When renovations are complete, youth and adult soccer leagues will be able to use Corsair Field at least 30 hours per week.
Since Santa Monica College football and soccer teams do not play in the spring, community use in the postseason can be easily accommodated day and night.
The City of Santa Monica Community and Cultural Services Department assists local youth and adult teams in finding playing fields.
Hyatt hopes that the college district will provide funds in the future for new Corsair Field lights.
“We hope to now work on getting new lights,” Hyatt said. “They are old.
“They are outdated and inefficient.”