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Ribbon cutting ceremonies happening at Arroyo Grande, Nipomo high school stadiums with major renovations still to come

AGHS Doug Hitchen Stadium
Ribbon cutting ceremonies are scheduled this week at Arroyo Grande and Nipomo high schools, marking a significant milestone in the long-running stadium renovation projects at both facilities. (Dave Alley/KEYT)

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. -- Ribbon cutting ceremonies are being held this week at the two Lucia Mar Unified School District high school stadiums.

The first was held Wednesday at Arroyo Grande's Doug Hitchen Stadium.

The event celebrated the opening of the school's newly installed all-weather track and other renovations.

"We're nearly done here with the stadium project," said Arroyo Grande athletic director Stephen Field. "The field ready and is looking fantastic. The track is now done, all the painting and striping is done, the storage rooms are done, the landscaping is mostly complete."

Afterwards, an intrasquad track meet featuring the Eagles boys and girls teams was held.

On Saturday, Nipomo High School is scheduled to hold a similar ribbon cutting ceremony at its new track starting at 10:00 a.m.

Following the ceremony, the school is holding a family day track meet and BBQ.

Like Arroyo Grande, several new additions to the stadium are now complete.

"Right now, we have the new restroom facility and ticket booth and all-weather surface, we have natural grass infield and the only thing that we're waiting on now is the new bleacher set and press box," said Nipomo principal John Denno.

The two ceremonies signal a major milestone in the long-running renovation projects to upgrade and modernize both facilities.

Work at both stadiums was delayed several months last year while plans were tied up with the Department of the State Architect (DSA).

The delays caused the unprecedented decision to move graduation ceremonies at both schools last June to other campus locations.

It also forced both football teams last fall to play several home games at other high school locations.

Renovations at Hitchen Stadium includes the a new track, visitors bleachers and press box.

At Nipomo, it is also receiving a new track, plus new home bleachers that will be located on what was previously the visitors side and also a press box.

In addition, there is a newly created entrance and restroom facility.

As school officials celebrate the new tracks and other completed work, renovations at both stadiums are far from complete.

After more than a year of waiting on DSA for approval on the bleacher plans, Lucia Mar had to submit entirely new plans a couple of months ago.

"We went with some different plans and we were informed recently that they will be completely some additional testing on those, so we're waiting for some good news on that," said Field. "It is still unknown (on completion) at this time, but there is progress moving forward that we're excited about and hope to see something coming down the road here soon."

Now, the district is waiting once again, hoping approval will happen in time for the installation of the bleachers before graduation ceremonies this coming June.

"We're still waiting on state approval," said Denno. "We're optimistic that we can have something in time for graduation. We feel either way, we're going to have an incredible ceremony, but we're still dependent upon the state's approval."

The combined cost of the two projects is $9.75 million.

The stadium renovations are being paid through the Measure I, the $170,000,000 bond measure that was passed by South County voters in 2016.

California / Education / Events / High School Sports / Outdoors / San Luis Obispo County / Sports / What's Right

Dave Alley

Dave Alley is a reporter and anchor at KCOY|KEYT|KKFX.