The CHS athletic field will be receiving a new look this fall as Carmel Unified School District proceeds with phase two of the two-part project to renovate the bleachers and press box, while generally maintaining the same footprint and feel of the old stadium.
Kent Construction Company has been working to fix the stone seats that were put in roughly 50 years ago when the field was first built. The stone bleachers were an inefficient design and generally uncomfortable for viewers, leaving many onlookers stranded on the road behind the boys’ locker room peeking between the heads of others.
In an effort to increase volume, the space for the bleachers will be expanded. Currently the seating stretches roughly between the 20-yard lines, athletic director Golden Anderson notes. A set of aluminum bleachers will now sit right on top of the site of the former structure.
“Our stadium had not been given any serious attention for a long time,” Principal Rick Lopez informs. “The field was a grass field and had a huge crown in the middle. You could literally see people across sidelines only knees up.”
As a result, the first phase addressed the field issue by using a new turf design. Despite the preference for natural grass, the turf was most practical for endurance and frequent use.
While both the field and bleachers grew old with use, the press box was no different. The old wooden structure has been completely torn down and will receive a more modern look.
Anderson explains the changes: “There will be a staircase going into the press box, not a ladder leaning up against the wood structure. It will be two stories. The inside will be all framed in with the windows … and then there will be railings around the roof for another area where spotters and cameras can view.”
Furthermore, the entrance to the field will now be the amphitheater.
“It will be a classier look with an entrance by the science wing,” Anderson notes.
The entrance will be built towards the field side of the amphitheater grass. The field will no longer be accessible by the road, and a new locked gate will allow only vehicles to pass.
While Lopez and Anderson both believe the renovations will be rewarding once complete, the construction process has had a large impact on daily school activities.
In regards to the parking implications of the project, many staff members have been displaced due to the loss of the “ring road” behind the school. Faculty members that could normally park behind the campus have now been forced into the front lot.
A large stretch of the parking lot, roughly 40 spots, has been reserved for faculty, according to Lopez. As result, juniors and sophomores have been sent to the baseball field lot. The 30 spots reserved for juniors last school year have been now opened up to seniors until this process is complete.
The lower baseball field can now be seen completely filled as a result of both the loss of upper spots and the parking restrictions placed on Morse Drive. Traffic at the end of the school day has also increased with the relocation of buses to the front of the theater for pick up.
However, the school has found a fix for the congestion by temporarily fixing the ring road behind the school. Assistant principal Tom Parry describes the bus situation.
“They are going to put down, in the next week or so, base rock to allow the buses to pass through the ring road,” Parry explains.
The buses will then resume pickup in the normal location next to the theater. The ring road use during this time will be strictly limited to the buses as the road is not completely built.
The entire project is estimated to finish in mid-October, with the goal for the field to be available for the Homecoming game on Oct. 22. This particular construction company has a reputation for keeping deadlines, as Principal Lopez observes, and the project has remained on time throughout the process.