High School Athletic Fields Ready For Action

It's time to play ball at the Dana Hills High School Sports Field as the city plans to take down the fences surrounding the new and improved athletic fields today.

Nearly six months after the $1.4-million state-of-the-art sports complex was first scheduled to open, the city has pronounced it complete and ready for use by Dana Hills students and staff, as well as the community.

"Everyone's really excited," said Andrea Ruby, a member of the high school booster group that helped the city push the project forward. "I think it's a great thing for the school and the community."

To upgrade the sports fields, the city installed new irrigation, sewer and drainage systems, new backstops and bleachers, a restroom and concessions building, new hybrid Bermuda turf and tall lights for night games.

The City Council will vote at Tuesday's meeting whether to approve the final notice of completion for the center, a little more than a year after construction began.

"I'm extremely pleased with the facility," said Mort August, the city's public works director. "It's very beautiful."

The development and construction of the sports center did not come without controversy.

Residents living near the fields argued that the facility's bright lights and bigger crowds would have a negative impact on their community, and dislike for the renovation led to the unsuccessful recall attempt of two council members.

Last September, the city had problems with the contractor and fired Micon Engineering Inc. of Yorba Linda, delaying the completion further.

The city will share use of the sports fields through a joint-use agreement with the Capistrano Unified School District. The city will have exclusive use of the sports field after 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday.

During city-use periods the fields will be used primarily for youth sports organizations, August said.

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