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Overhaul at OCC just getting started

Rick Devereux

Fifth in a series

The winds of change are blowing at Orange Coast College thanks to

the passage of bond measure C in 2002.


LeBard Stadium has received $2.5 million worth of renovation, and

the soccer fields have been given a $1.7 million face-lift.

And that is just the start of a multitude of projects designed to

give the athletic department a new and improved look and feel.


A new $7.9 million sports complex/fieldhouse is being planned.

Another $1.5 million is earmarked to relocate the softball field, and

the baseball diamond will get $500,000 for improvements.

And that’s just what has been approved so far.

OCC is looking into updating the tennis courts and the aquatic

center when the next issuance of bond money is released, probably in


But the plans for the sports complex/fieldhouse, softball field


and baseball diamond are already moving forward.

The current fieldhouse is a one-story building near the south end

of LeBard Stadium. The new sports complex/fieldhouse will be two

stories, house three locker rooms, exercise science classrooms,

strength and cardio labs. It will be at the north end of the stadium.

“Hopefully, it will be glass on both the north and south side so

you can oversee the football field [to the south] and you can oversee

the soccer field [to the north],” athletic director Barbara Bond


said. “It’s going to be dynamite and much needed.”

Orange Coast College added a new training center in Spring 2001,

but the new facilities will be welcomed.

“There is a beautiful strength lab with new equipment no more than

four years old,” athletic trainer Evonne Durand said. “But it is very


Durand said the equipment is in good condition, but the volume of

people using it creates a problem.

“I know the stuff we have is nice, but when you have 80 football

players, plus men’s and women’s soccer teams, plus people who sign up

for classes, it gets to be too much,” she said.

The softball field will be relocated to the current throwing area

for the track and field teams. Home plate will be situated in the

southwest corner with a fence 200 yards away from the throwing pit in

the northeast corner of the field.

“Most don’t throw the hammer that far at this level, so we feel

that we’re going to be able to reside peacefully here,” Bond said. “I

think we’ll be able to live like this.”

The baseball diamond will get more of a tune-up, as opposed to the

major overhauls the fieldhouse and softball field are getting.

“The baseball field will be a renovation,” Bond said. “The

drainage is poor, the dugouts are way too small to house both teams,

and the backstop is unsafe. Those are just a few things that we can

afford to get done here.”

Something Bond would like to do is add FieldTurf, a synthetic

surface that closely resembles natural grass, that has already been

added to the soccer field and will be installed in LeBard Stadium for

the football team.

“It’s all about money,” Bond said. “Would we like to? Yeah, we’d

like to put FieldTurf in the infield and around the backstop to the

dugout area. Maintenance-wise, it’s a dream. You don’t have to worry

about anybody getting out there and relining it or mowing it.”

While the sports complex/fieldhouse, softball field and baseball

diamond all have money allotted to each project and blueprints drawn

up, future projects are just in the discussion phase.

“We’ve presented [refurbishing] the swimming pool at a facilities

meeting [in June],” Bond said. “As far as the tennis courts go,

they’re a disaster. Something is going to have to happen to them. So,

some way, somehow, maybe not in the not-too-near future, but in the

not-too-distant future, we’re going to have to do something about


The swimming pool does not meet the needs of the people using it,

according to Don Watson, the women’s swim and water polo coach.

"[The pool] is inadequate for the needs of traditional P.E.

students, completely ignores all of the needs of adaptive P.E.

students, and is not regulation size for the swimming and water polo

teams,” he said.

Watson said the people who are confined to wheelchairs and are

less mobile are the ones who need the renovation to come as soon as

possible because there is no ramp or handrail for easy access in or

out of the pool.

“My primary focus would be for the adaptive P.E. folks,” Watson

said. “It is impossible for them to get in or out of pool if they are

in a wheelchair. If there was ever an emergency and we needed to get

them all out quickly, I don’t know what we would do. And the current

heating system makes it impossible to heat both pools, and the

adaptive P.E. people need the water hotter than the other people who

use the pool.”

The tennis courts are also in disrepair and improvements are in

the discussion stages. Despite a resurfacing project that was

recently completed, the courts remain in dubious condition.

“The courts got resurfaced about four or five years ago and,

within a year, they started cracking,” OCC women’s tennis coach

Janice Maran said. “The ground underneath the courts is too sandy,

so, no matter what we have done, it tends to crack. If the bottom is

not great, every layer needs to be perfect.”

To fix the problem, Maran said, the courts will have to be torn

out and the sand removed. She said the current cracks create more

than just an un-even playing surface, but a safety concern as well.

“Some of these cracks are big enough where you could trip and fall

or twist an ankle,” she said. “It’s not safe.”