Corsair Field to open for new uses

Santa Monica College, through bond Measure S, opens Corsair Field for greater community use, gaining the benefits of a newly remodeled all-weather, artificial turf field for its students.

The groundbreaking feature of Measure S, which passed Nov. 2004, fully pays for the field and also opens the field for youth and adult soccer leagues, as the National College Association of America approved the field for intercollegiate soccer play, where in the past the field only accommodated football.

Dina Cervantes, resigning A.S. student trustee, said that Measure S "strengthens the bond between SMC and the community of Santa Monica and Malibu." The community gains the field for at least 30 hours a week of time currently not taken advantage of by the college.

"The field is currently not used to its full potential, particularly in the spring," said Bruce Smith, SMC's Public Information Officer. And the off time that the community uses will not effect any athletic programs at the college, he said.

Smith also said the plans for the renovation will begin construction in May, with completion of the field in late August, staying in use most of the time throughout the construction period.

"The project is being fast-tracked," said Rhonda Hyatt, SMC's athletic director. "The design and plans are in progress and there are a number of contractors who will be available to work on the project this summer. But it is unlikely that there will not be some disruption to the normal usage of the field and track. Our goal is to squeeze the project in between the end of the spring semester and the start of the fall semester," she said.

Smith said the board of Trustees is expected to approve the hiring of Caldwell Architects to design and plan the upgrade. The school's contract with Caldwell Architects is a maximum of $35,000 with the conversion of the field estimated at around $1 million.

"I wonder if it is gonna' cost the students in tuition, parking fees, and student activity fees. Will instructors and classes be cut because of it? Just how much will it cost?" said Teddy Brian, a student at SMC, when asked about the new field.

With Measure S, however, the field is paid for by the city, and Hyatt mentioned that with the artificial turf, the field needs fewer repairs, saving the school money in the end.

"In the past the field has not been permitted out to community user groups because of the wear and tear factor," Hyatt said. "Now we will have the opportunity to share the field with off-campus groups without jeopardizing the surface for our classes or athletic teams. This past year the field was mostly dirt by the end of our home football season."

This also applies to the sports programs at our school, with Hyatt mentioning that the field now has the potential to support more classes. With the City of Santa Monica unable to accommodate all of the soccer leagues due to the limited number of playing fields, with the Girl's Soccer Team able to practice on campus rather then at John Adam's Middle School, and with the community and SMC coming together over the issue, a newly renovated soccer/football field sounds as Alex King, another SMC student, said, "a great idea."