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$2.4 million in renovations proposed for Lompoc’s Huyck Stadium

Huyck Stadium has been the site of countless sporting memories for Lompoc over the past 50 years.

The venerable stadium, which is home to both the Lompoc High School and Cabrillo High School football teams, was where Braves star Napoleon Kaufman launched his legendary football and track career.

It’s also where the Braves memorably captured the 2010 CIF championship thanks to a game-saving last-second tackle by Joe Valla.

Simply, it’s a place many young Lompoc athletes dream and hope to one day perform at.

While there is a certain aura and mystic that surrounds the 54-year-old facility, make no mistake, it’s playing surfaces have seen better days.

“It is very outdated,” said Emily Casarez, Health Program Manager, Lompoc Valley Community Healthcare Organization. “This is the original track and field from when the school was first built.”

To help bring Huyck Stadium up into modern standards, Casarez is part of a local group that has proposed a renovation plan.

“The proposal is to replace the red-brick track with a synthetic, polyurethane track and to replace the grass field with a synthetic field,” said Casarez.

The plan, just revealed at Tuesday’s Lompoc Unified School District board meeting, is needed now more than ever before according to supporters.

“Just a week ago, our track was completely under water and water was going out onto the field, so the conditions are such that you can’t even get on it to prepare at this point,” said Lompoc Athletic Director Don Cross.

Severe weather has left the facility unusable for athletics. With rain falling regularly, the dirt track is now too soft and muddy to walk on.

“We’ve had to reschedule five or six soccer games, track team has yet to practice at this point and they’ve got a track meet coming up, so in terms of athletics, (renovations) would give us access to our fields at all times,” said Cross.

According to Healthy Lompoc Coalition, which proposed the project, the plan is expected to cost $2.4 million.

“We are looking for some of the funding to potentially coming from the school district and some outside donors,” said Casarez.

Even though the stadium is located at Lompoc High School, it is also used by Cabrillo for its football games. Supporters emphasize upgrades will benefit both schools.

Cabrillo athletic director Dan Troup said he would be in favor of holding soccer games and track meets at a newly renovated Huyck Stadium. Currently, the Conquistadores host games on their Vandenberg Village campus.

Troup added the long term goal for Cabrillo would to eventually build an on-campus stadium.

In addition, supporters say an upgraded stadium would also benefit the entire Lompoc Valley community.

“They will be able to use this facility for relay for life events and youth teams and even a partnership with the city to have after-hours walking on the track and sports fields,” said Casarez.

Casarez added organizers already have an agreement with the city to staff the stadium during community-related events.

Another reason for the renovations, according to supporters, are financial considerations.

“It makes practical sense, even from a business standpoint,” said Cross. “The time you can save and the money you can save in man-hours and in paint and maintenance and all those sorts of things, they all catch up.”

Supporters hope to start construction in June 2018. Work is expected to last about four months.

“We believe that Lompoc deserves the best,” Casarez said. “It would be wonderful for our students and our residents to have a facility that is comparable all of the other schools in the area.”

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