For the second season in a row, the Santa Barbara High School football team will be forced to play its home games at a different location as the construction at Peabody Stadium continues. Dons coach J.T. Stone confirmed that the team will be opening the season Aug. 23 visiting Buena, a team they were set to host at the newly renovated stadium to open the 2019 season.
Mr. Stone, when reached by phone, said he was “frustrated” with the delay in construction but declined further comment.
No information about the delay was discussed by Cary Matsuoka, superintendent of the Santa Barbara Unified School District, during Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting. DIstrict officials did not respond to requests for comment by late Tuesday.
In March, Santa Barbara High Principal Elise Simmons sent a note to parents and students announcing that the renovation project was behind schedule. In the update, Dr. Simmons said the project was “at 75 percent complete when it should be nearly 90 percent.”
Dr. Simmons said that the wet winter was the main culprit for the delay. The stadium was built in 1924. The $39 million renovation project will modernize its infrastructure and athletic field and will include a new press box and 2,300-seat concrete grandstand.
The renovation will also create a California Interscholastic Federation regulation track and artificial turf field, replace two failing storm drain conduits and modernize the sound and lighting system at the stadium, according to the district website.
The groundbreaking for the project was August 2017. Following the May update, the estimated completion date was August. For the past two years, the school has held its graduation at the Santa Barbara Bowl. The stadium project is funded by the Foundation for Santa Barbara High School, local bond measures, developer fees and state seismic mitigation funds. The project partners include: Kruger Bensen Ziemer Architects Inc.; Flowers & Associates, Inc.; Lundgren Management Corp.; AMG & Associates, Inc; and Knowland Construction Services.
The last update on the project’s Facebook page was May 17, which revealed the stadium lights and scoreboard had been erected and other elements of the project were coming together. Last season, the Dons were forced to play their home games at La Playa Stadium at Santa Barbara City College. According to the schedule on the school’s website, the Dons will play their week 3 and 4 games, against Channel Islands and St. Bonaventure, respectively, at San Marcos High School. On Week 5, they will play Pacifica at Dos Pueblos High.
The Dons have a bye in week 6. In week 7, they will be the hometeam in their matchup with San Marcos which will be played at the Royals’ venue. The Dons will play their week 8 homecoming game against Santa Ynez at Dos Pueblos.
As was the case when the schedule was released in May, the Dons will play their final three games on the road. For a complete varsity, JV and freshman football schedule, visit sbhsathletics.org.