Santa Barbara High School’s 2018 and 2019 classes had to veer from the traditional ceremony of graduation at the school’s football field, but the class of 2020 may break that spell. The school’s Peabody Stadium construction’s new finish date is slated for November, and it cannot come any sooner for some community members.
“There’s been a lot of problems, a lot of heartrending decisions that had to be made toward Santa Barbara High School,” said Frank Stevens during public comment.
However, it was not just hearts that have been rendered; wallets have been affected, too.
According to the high school principal Elise Simmons, the school missed out on an estimated earning of $10,000 that would have been generated through concessions sold during games. Additionally, the transportation of students (for example, from the high school to last Friday’s football game at Buena, initially slated for Peabody) tallies to about $5,000, but luckily, neither the school or the district has to foot that bill.
“The general contractor AMG paid that bill for the past two years,” said the district’s superintendent Cary Matsuoka. The district hired four contractors for the project for the landscape, turf field, track and general, the last of which is handled by AMG.
Mr. Matsuoka told the News-Press that updates on the project had been given to the principal and the public “about every 5 to 6 months.”
When asked why updates were not given on a smaller interval of time, Mr. Matsuoka replied, “Because projects of that size don’t move that fast.”
Indeed, this is no small project. Mr. Matsuoka believes, though, that the efforts and time put into the project will be worth it.
“The thing that you see above ground is only about 30 percent of the cost,” said Mr. Matsuoka, who continued to explain that the remaining 70 percent encompasses the complex engineering beneath the stadium. The superintendent told the News-Press that beneath the stadium, there will be water tunnels through which 40 percent of the rain from Riviera will travel. Mr. Matsuoka also pointed out that “the rains that hit last summer” delayed the project significantly.
Apart from the engineering ingenuity that Mr. Matsuoka says is involved, there will also be sentimental value involved in the Peabody Stadium.
“The kids are going to be able to run…hold a track meet,” said Mr. Matsuoka.
And, perhaps most importantly, they will also be able to walk across the stage on their home turf.