New Davidson Field nearing completion
Newport Harbor High Principal Sean Boulton looked out to piles of mud surrounding an area at Davidson Field.
He can see what no one else can, peering into the future, while standing in what will be a concession stand on Jan. 13, just after rain had poured onto the grounds, challenging the renovation.
“Over here will be a flat-screen TV able to have live feed of the football game,” Boulton said motioning behind him.
“People can hang out here, maybe after a track meet or at halftime,” Boulton said, pointing out to the mud and debris some 20 feet in front of the concession stand, which is basically next door to two new team rooms.
Boulton then walked over to the back of the home stands of Davidson Field and looked up at a new press box that will have an elevator installed. On the back of the press box, named after former longtime Daily Pilot Sports Editor Roger Carlson, a sign is expected to be placed. It will read: Home of the Sailors.
Boulton is among the Newport Harbor High School faithful excited for the completion of renovated Davidson Field. Despite the rain and all the work still needed, they are looking forward to the date of completion in three months, April 17. That’s the first day when students return from Spring Break.
The funding for the total renovation project at Davidson Field will be roughly $15.9 million, said Tim Marsh, the Newport Mesa Unified School District Administrative Director, Facilities Support Services.
Marsh expects many grand features from the renovation, including the artificial turf, he said. The turf will allow Newport Harbor sports teams to be on par with many schools in Orange County. It will be a new field that is long overdue, many in the community contend.
Ara Zareczny, the district’s Director, Facilities Development, Planning/Design, as well as Boulton spoke about the stadium’s wooden bleachers as being a unique part of the renovation. The stands at Davidson Field won’t have aluminum bleachers, but will be made out of wood, just like the original.
Newport Harbor boosters sold off pieces of the old wooden bleachers.
To comply with American with Disabilities Act standards, there will be special seating in the front row and on the top area of the home stands near the press box. The elevator also complies with ADA regulations and will make stops at the special seating near the top and in the press box.
The rain has left great amounts of mud, which could leave many baffled that the stadium will be completed by April 17. But Boulton is one of many who are confident that the new Davidson Field, complete with an all-weather track, will be ready in time.
“We anticipated  rain days in the contract,” Zareczny said. “We are still good, on schedule.”
Boulton is planning for an official grand reopening ceremony of Davidson Field on Sept. 8, the Sailors’ football team’s first home game of the 2017 season. The opponent is to be determined, Boulton said.
“We want to get as many football alumni there as possible,” Boulton said. “It will be symbolic of our Long Grey Line.”
Boulton said the communication lines have been open throughout the renovation and the process has been smooth for the most part. It is why he remains confident that the stadium will be ready in three months.
The majority of the frustrations and challenges have come from the maneuvering of scheduling for the sports teams’ game sites since they are always on the road.
But soon, the Sailors’ new home will be ready. In addition to the new team rooms, there will also be a ramp walkway for the players onto the field, much like LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College.
“I’m completely excited,” Boulton said. “The concession stands, from the outside will have that Spanish colonial feel. You’ll have the white stucco with the arches, the red roof. The concession stands will have a flat-screen TV and a digital menu. The stadium will be great.”