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Stadium Dream Closer to Reality : Westlake High: Supporters’ six-year effort leads to Monday groundbreaking for on-campus facility.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

After a determined, six-year effort to build a football stadium at Westlake High, members of Community Action for Westlake Stadium will finally see their persistence rewarded.

CAWS, a group of more than 50 Westlake High supporters, has organized a groundbreaking ceremony Monday for a $2.1-million project that will enable Westlake’s varsity football team to play its home games on campus for the first time since the school opened in 1978.

Westlake’s varsity has shared the playing field at Thousand Oaks High the past 13 seasons.

“We’ve had a lot of hurdles to cross, but thank God we have an incredible group of people that insists on seeing the completion of the high school,” CAWS chairman Michael Chopp said.

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The push for a stadium began in 1985. Construction of the facility will be supported in part by $100,000 in matching funds from each of the City of Thousand Oaks and the Conejo Valley Unified School District. The remaining funds will be produced in the form of cash and material donations from several corporations and individuals.

“Our student body has excelled academically and athletically over the years yet we have the poorest facilities in the area,” Chopp said. “It’s been a downer for us, but it won’t be for much longer.”

The groundbreaking will initiate the first of two phases.

The initial phase, which is estimated to cost $760,000, will enhance a football field that has been home to Westlake’s freshman games.

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The first phase also includes construction of bleachers to seat 4,500. A press box, field lighting, restroom facilities, a public-address system, concession stand and a scoreboard also will be built. The nine-lane track that surrounds the field will be improved.

The second phase involves construction of a field house and coaches’ offices. Also included will be locker rooms, equipment rooms, weight rooms and conference rooms.

“The finished product will be superb,” Chopp said.

Chopp said construction is scheduled to begin next spring and, barring complications, will be completed in time for the 1992 football season.

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Chopp said the plans for the stadium are being reviewed by the City of Thousand Oaks Planning Commission, which must approve the specifications set forth by Taylor & Associates, architectural consultants based in Thousand Oaks. The improvements already have been approved by officials from the high school, the school district and the district’s trustees.

“We plan to keep working with the city until the plans we have are adjusted to (its) regulations,” Chopp said. “We’re moving forward with it.”

The plans also must receive final approval from the state board of education in Sacramento, but Chopp does not foresee any problems.

“Once the city approves it, we don’t believe the state would have any reason to deny us,” he said.

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