LOMPOC, Calif. -- A dream many years in the making in Lompoc took a giant leap forward Tuesday morning.
The long-planned renovations to Hucyk Stadium began with a ceremonial groundbreaking behind the south endzone.
"The groundbreaking is a historic moment for Lompoc as we celebrate a new beginning for this facility and increased access for the community, as well as for the students of Lompoc Unified," said Ashley Costa, Lompoc Valley Community Healthcare Organization Executive Director.
The $3.8 million project will include the removal of the natural grass field and installation of an artificial turf field. It will also transition the red brick track to a 9-lane synthetic track, plus install enhanced jumping facilities. There will also be a new community exercise zone in the northeast corner of the facility.
"They're going to compete on an even ground with other schools," said Tom Blanco, who spent 38 years at Lompoc High School and who helped spearhead the project. "When they run the races on the track and jump, they'll be able compete on surfaces that are equal to or better than some of the better facilities in the state."
The drive to renovate the stadium led to the creation of the Campaign for the Lompoc Community Track and Field, which has worked with the Lompoc Unified School District to come up with a funding plan.
"A project of this magnitude would not have been possible without a public-private partnership approach. We needed all the major players to be invested. That includes the non-profit sector, like the Lompoc Valley Community Healthcare Organization, the school district, the community, the businesses, the city, everyone came together and that was the way we were able to achieve success in this project."
Through great effort, the Campaign raised more than $1.6 million, which was $400,000 more than the original goal.
Costa said $300,000 was raised from about 300 donors in the City of Lompoc alone, with the other portion coming from outside businesses and foundations.
Last year, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians accelerated the fundraising campaign with a donation of $450,000.
Lompoc Unified School District contributed $2.15 million.
When complete, the renovated stadium will continue to be utilized primarily for Lompoc and Cabrillo high school athletics, but also become available for public use.
"This facility will be open for community use before and after school hours, on the weekend and during the summer, so the community is going to have access to a facility that previously had no access at all," said Costa.
This marks the first major upgrade to the stadium since 1964.
Construction is now underway and will continue for several months.
Work is expected to be completed in time for graduation in early June.