Memorial Stadium’s renovation


Alisia Sanchez

Patrick Harrison, 57, mows the stadium lawn in preperation for the Renegades home opener on September 13 against Golden Valley

Daniel Ojeda, Sports Editor

The grass is always greener on the other side.

For the first time in 12 years that meaning will definitely not be the case when it comes to the playing surface at Memorial Stadium.

The field has seen better days, over the last decade the grass at Memorial Stadium has held its share of hard-hitting football games and has celebrated numerous graduations.

But over those years, the soil underneath the playing field and the grass itself has been deteriorating resulting in uneven surface areas and worn out spots.

This type of field is unacceptable, especially when you have Renegade athletes who are trying to excel and achieve excellence.

With Memorial Stadium being the largest outdoor venue in Bakersfield and its constant use, the field was creating a liability and was also creating an unplayable surface for football.

“The grass was dead and the field just became a liability, a safety issue, really quite honestly,” head football coach Jeff Chudy said.

So it came to no one’s surprise when plans for a renovation of the playing field were announced for Memorial Stadium.

But there was one catch; Bakersfield College didn’t have the available funds to renovate the battered field and with a price tag approaching $150,000, a new playing surface seemed farfetched.

Enter the Renegade Helmet Club, who with donations from its members, have made the renovation possible.

The Helmet Club has always been a strong and constant supporter of BC football and with many current members also being former football players for BC. Club members rallied and managed to raise over $100,000, which managed to cover more than half of the renovation costs.

Former BC football player and current president of the Helmet Club Chad Manning knew that the field wasn’t safe and was also causing BC football to lose some of their competitive edge because of worries about the playing field.

With his help, money for the renovation was raised in a matter of days and the new playing field will be on par with what other top colleges currently play on.

“This just shows you what Bakersfield and our community can do once they set their mind to it,” Chudy said. “It’s going to be a first class playing surface and it’s comparable to what you’ll see at the Rose Bowl.”

The first part of the renovation project started on June 2 and that was to replace the turf, level unstable field areas, and install an automatic sprinkler system.

Once that was completed the full renovation of Memorial stadium took about a month to finish and was completed mid-July.

With help from the Bakersfield community and donations, the Helmet Club was finally able to get the football team a first class playing surface to match the beautiful stadium they play in.

Renegade fans will get their first chance to see the newly-renovated playing field when BC opens its home schedule against Golden West on Sept. 13.

As for the players, worries about the safety or uneven areas can be put to rest and they can now focus on defending their new home turf.