After many years of use, Bakersfield College’s football stadium is in need of a little love.

According to the college, the field lighting is inadequate. The sound systems are insufficient. The concession stands and restrooms are in need of modernization. To resolve these issues and more, the college is renovating its Memorial Stadium, with work expected to start on April 1.

The $12.5 million project will largely be funded through Measure J, which was approved by voters in 2016.

“This will be a beautiful stadium that will serve Bakersfield College students for the next 50 years,” said Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services Mike Giacomini. “It’s really going to benefit the college in a lot of different ways.”

The project will be split in two phases, with the first consisting of field and track replacement. Giacomini said the district will be moving from natural to artificial turf, which requires less maintenance.

This first phase is estimated to be completed in August for the start of the next football season. Once the season is over, Giacomini said work will start on the second phase, which will include new, energy-efficient field lighting as well as concession stand, restroom and press box renovations.

This phase is expected to start in January and be wrapped up in August 2020.

For work on the project to be completed, Giacomini said the district is completely closing the stadium. While BC’s graduation ceremony would normally be held at the stadium in May, it is being moved this year to the Rabobank Arena so work can be done on the stadium.

“It’s definitely a break from tradition,” Giacomini said. “It’s more a logistical challenge, but our feeling is there’s going to be sufficient seating."

According to Rabobank Arena, the arena can seat up to around 10,000 people.

As for sports, the stadium’s closure this spring and summer isn’t expected to have a significant impact, according to the district, as games aren’t typically held at the stadium around this time of year.

“It will still be business as usual for student-athletes,” Giacomini said. “The sports that are affected aren’t in season right now.”

BC Athletics Director Sandi Taylor said the track team will be using their practice field and may also need to practice off-site. The soccer team will be using its practice fields across from the library.

“The team prefers to be out of the stadium because it’s not wide enough for most games,” she said. “That will change with this new project.”

While Taylor said the football team practices during the summer, it has typically used its practice field rather than the stadium.

Giacomini said the district initially planned to do the project in one shot but later decided to break it up into two phases to lessen the impact on students.

“We’re going to be able to facilitate all of the sports needs, but (teams) are going to need to be flexible as we maneuver through these changes,” he said.

Taylor said she’s looking forward to seeing the renovated stadium and hopes it will better serve the students.

“It’s a very exciting time for us,’ she said. “There’s been some work done to the stadium over the years but this will be the biggest makeover it’s had in decades. It’s all needed, and I’m looking forward to all of it.”

Joseph Luiz can be reached at 395-7368 or by email at jluiz@bakersfield.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @JLuiz_TBC. 

(4) comments

Nevermind

The low attendance totals can be attributed to the laziness of the football staff to draw out of state talent in. The attraction of the best stadium in the nation, a low cost of living for California, and fan support ( yes BC fans are frontrunners but if they win no other community gives more support), should be enough of an incentive to get more than 6 out of staters. Mt. SAC has 40,000 students, all of SoCal to pick from, and yet they still get 35 out of staters a year as do many L.A. teams. It's a tribute to our local talent to be better than average, but we can't compete with teams full of blue chip talent. I like coach Chudy, but he's become complacent and seems to be riding it out until retirement. Perhaps it's time for new blood, like Coach Golla for example.
I'm not sure how players are going to like early season home games on an artificial surface that will be 10 degrees hotter than that 100 degree day, but it will be cost effective. If you're going to spend 12 million, you should make a concerted effort to give the taxpayers a good product for their investment. Get off your keysters BC

Gary Crabtree

Total waste of money. The glory days of Renegade football with 15,000 average attendance are gone. Even in its current state, it is superior to all community college stadiums in the state. If lighting is so bad, play the games in the day. I sure the sound system is sufficient for the 3,500-4,000 who do attend the games.

shazam72

totally agree

Moardeeb

There are times I am greatly discouraged by the mediocrity that has become BC Football. But, I then remember the 2012 team that drew 16,000 fans to the State Title game. If BC wins, they come.
Try to think in bigger terms Bakersfield. We have 1 college football team in this city of nearly 400k.we have 1 outdoor stadium for a city this size that can hold that many people. It seems wise to keep it in good condition. Do you know why it would cost to build a stadium like that from scratch? So, I disagree with the haters.

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