Marina High School unveils design for $12M home football field – Monterey Herald

Marina High School unveils design for $12M home football field – Monterey Herald

MARINA — Monterey Peninsula Unified School District unveiled its initial design for Marina High School’s new multi-use sports field, a first step in accomplishing what residents have dreamt of for the past 16 years: having a home football field.

“Overall, the Marina community has been really starving for a comprehensive high school,” explained District Superintendent PK Diffenbaugh. “We’ve put in the gym, we’ve made improvements to the classrooms and the overall aesthetic, and now this is kind of the final piece of the puzzle to really make the school a true comprehensive high school that has all the amenities that any other school in the county has.”

The design for the $12 million project comes from Weston Miles Architects, which the board approved for design services back in July.

Founded in 1985 by Charles D. Weston and Lesley Miles, Weston Miles Architects has worked with school districts across Northern California for the past 30 years.

Miles said Marina’s multi-use field project will be the firm’s fifth or sixth project with the district. The company has previously renovated several football fields in the past, including Woodside High School’s Bradley Field in Redwood City in 2016 and more recently – a few fields for Jefferson School District in Daly City.

Diffenbaugh said the board picked Weston Miles Architects to design the project because of their commitment to the district’s goal of transforming Marina High School into a true high school experience.

“I think that they really understood what we were trying to do in terms of it being a multi-use field,” explained Diffenbaugh. “They really understood the desire to have this be a focal point of the campus and have it serve multiple different functions.”

Marina High School was created in 2006, much later than Monterey’s founding date of 1905 and Seaside’s creation in 1963. Before that, the city’s high school students were bused to Seaside or Monterey high schools.

In recent years, the district has put millions of dollars into the school, including the new $7 million gymnasium, which was completed in 2019 – 13 years after the school opened.

But the school still doesn’t have a home field. Marina High’s outdoor sports teams play at various locations around the Peninsula. The football team plays at Monterey Peninsula College, while the softball team plays at Los Arboles Middle and the school’s soccer teams alternate between Seaside High and Marina’s fields.

The plan redesigns the school’s student drop-off, moving it to a proposed upper parking lot with 60 parking spaces. An additional lower parking lot would include 44 parking spaces, as well as the relocated basketball court and space for a squash ball court or sand volleyball pit (Monterey Peninsula Unified School District/Weston Miles Architects).

Weston Miles’ initial design takes Marina High School’s existing baseball field and transforms it into a combined football, soccer and baseball field with a quarter-mile running track around all the fields.

The design also includes bleachers for both the football field and the baseball diamond, stadium lighting, a sound booth system, storage and concession stand.

The plan redesigns the school’s student drop-off, moving it to a proposed upper parking lot with 60 parking spaces. An additional lower parking lot would include 44 parking spaces, as well as the relocated basketball court and space for a squash ball court or sand volleyball pit.

The money for the $12 million project comes from a $213 million facilities bond passed by voters in 2018. The Measure I bond has funded previous projects including Seaside High School’s renovated stadium and track and is slated to fund Monterey High School’s proposed stadium renovations.

Seaside High School’s track and field project – completed in 2020 – cost $8 million and included a new synthetic turf and track, scoreboard, lights and a sound system.

Monterey High School’s Dan Albert Stadium renovation is budgeted for an estimated $12 million. The plan consists of a lower softball and multi-use field, a multi-purpose weight room, added visitor bleachers, a new press box, improved accessible seating and stadium lights.

Diffenbaugh explained that the challenges of designing Marina High School’s multi-use field comes from the layout of the site itself, which slopes downhill and is confined by existing tree lines.

Because of the constraints of the space, there won’t be enough room to create a full eight-lane track around the field, a concern voiced multiple times by the public at last week’s town hall.

While the current design doesn’t include a traditional curved track, Diffenbaugh said that the district hopes to include a three-lane or four-lane track that curves around the field into future designs.

Other comments raised by the public asked for more storage, night-sky certified lights and a signature entry point to the field to represent the Marina community.

“I think based on the feedback, we’re going to be able to meet 95% of what the community was looking for,” said Diffenbaugh.

“My intent in the meeting was really to be able to kind of understand what the priorities are of the school community,” added Miles. “We come up with an idea and then we share it with the community, but we want to leave space for community input.”

Around 50 people showed up at last week’s town hall to give input on the design and discuss the project, including the high school’s football team and coaches. Marina Mayor Bruce Delgado, was also in attendance, as well as district board members Jeff Uchida and Tom Jennings.

Despite some initial concerns over the project’s design, the room buzzed with excitement at the potential of finally creating a home field for Marina High School.

“It’s been so long that we’ve been waiting for this. I know we want to do it the right way, but I can’t wait to have this up and going. I’m just so excited, I can’t wait to get started,” said Marina High Principal Rebecca Tyson.

“It was great just to see the enthusiasm in the room because this has been something the community has wanted for so long,” said Diffenbaugh. “Seeing it coming to fruition was just great to see the energy of the students and staff and community.”

Diffenbaugh explained that the district will continue working with Weston Miles Architects and an environmental consultant to refine the design and complete an environmental impact report. He said he hopes to bring the final design and environmental analysis back to the board in the spring and break ground on the project by the start of the 2023-2024 school year.

“A few of the longtime Marina residents came up to me after and shook my hand and said, ‘we never thought we’d see the day that our school would become a comprehensive high school, and here we are, nine years into your tenure and we’re almost there,’” said Diffenbaugh. “That just felt really satisfying that we’re able to – thanks to the voters – make the improvements that the community has wanted for a long time.”