Following extensive testing and expert consultation, new VPHS athletic facilities will open for students and community in early 2020.
ORANGE, CA (July 26, 2019) – In May 2018, the Orange Unified School District (OUSD) Board of Trustees unanimously approved the modernization of football and track facilities at three high schools, including Villa Park High School (VPHS). The facility upgrades would ensure that Spartan athletes, students, and community members safely enjoy world-class athletic and fitness opportunities.
Originally scheduled to open to students and the surrounding community in Fall of 2019, the winter’s higher-than normal rainfall prompted the District to expand the modernization schedule to ensure safe and code-complaint delivery of new facilities. Following extensive expert soil testing and consultation with the construction management team, it has now been determined that the fields require additional mitigation and drainage upgrades, forcing the full completion of the project to move to early 2020.
“We are certainly disappointed that conditions have caused delays in delivery, but our first concern is always student safety,” said Scott Harvey, senior executive director for OUSD facilities, maintenance and operations. “Re-engineering this project and allowing the construction teams to perform appropriate soil mitigation will ensure that the final product performs well for years to come. Extending our delivery schedule safeguards our ability to do that.”
The modernized athletic facility will feature the installation of environmentally-beneficial synthetic turf, all-weather rubberized tracks, and other improvements. Student athletes had been using the previous natural turf field and dirt track for decades and the conditions of those older facilities were past their prime. At VPHS, track and field facilities are much-loved community assets and used by students and neighbors alike for physical fitness activities such as walking and jogging. The improvements will provide students and the community with safer surfaces for athletic competition and recreational use, reduce day-to-day maintenance costs for the school district and weather-related “down time,” and eliminate the need for - and the cost and impacts associated with - irrigation and fertilization.
Timing was essential for this series of facility improvements since Fred Kelly Stadium closed in December 2018 for a complete rebuild to comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). VPHS utilized the stadium for varsity football and other athletic events. Phase I field renovations at VPHS, originally scheduled for completion this fall, would have allowed a full complement of sporting events, including football, to take place on the Spartans’ home turf. Alternative arrangements are currently being made for VPHS athletics.
“I am extremely proud that, as with any unforeseen circumstance, the OUSD family rises to the challenge and embraces positive solutions,” said OUSD Superintendent Gunn Marie Hansen, Ph.D. “Both Canyon and Orange High Schools have stepped up to coordinate co-location of athletic events on their campuses with VPHS while construction continues.”
The new construction timeline also provides OUSD the opportunity to deliver both Phase I and II of the project simultaneously. Previous schedules stated that the Villa Park track and field would be ready in fall 2019 with all Division of the State Architect required ADA work completed for athletic events and District-approved community use in early 2020. The new timeline envisions delivering the complete project at the same time. In addition, various aspects of VPHS’s Measure S projects have been moved forward to ensure the new track and athletic fields are protected from future drainage issues.