The North Orange County Community College District Boards of Trustees voted 6-1 in favor of the lower seat option for the already approved Sherbeck Field improvement project. This approval will allow the installation of permanent bleachers that will hold a maximum of 2,000 spectators.
The Sherbeck Field improvements were previously approved 4-3 during the Nov. 12 meeting in the board room at the Anaheim Campus. During that meeting, the board moved to review a lower seating option after approving the project.
The meeting Tuesday night, allowed the board and audience to view the findings of the noise and traffic analysis for the lower seating option.
The sound and traffic levels calculated for the lower seating option were compared to the original option that was presented previously from the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The traffic results showed that there would be a decrease in the number of cars, but traffic mediation would still be required during events.
The sound analysis showed that the maximum sound level for an attendance of 4,200, would be at 76 decibels. The lowered seating option would be at 71 dBA at full capacity. The analysis, completed by Veneklasen Associates, noted that a vacuum cleaner measures at 70 dBA.
The number of speakers for this meeting was noticeably lower. Among the speakers were current and former Fullerton College faculty as well as residents of the area surrounding the college campus.
“Think futuristically,” said Jerry Padilla, a retired Fullerton faculty and resident. Padilla also stated that the decision should be made with current and future students in mind.
Residents expressed the attendance at football games and having the larger seating as unnecessary and excessive.
Tanya McCrory stated that attendance of just 350 would be “embarrassing.”
During discussion before the vote, board member Stephen Blount said that he attended a Chapman University football game and counted 1221 people on the home side of the stadium.
He also said in his augment for the reduced seating plan, “What makes Fullerton College think they can attract more than that.”
Head coach of the football team at Fullerton College, Garrett Campbell, spoke on the need for a larger number of seats. He stated that at the playoff game, which was held on Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Covina District Field, there were 5,000 people in attendance.
Brian Crooks, the defensive coordinator for FC Football, stated that the average attendance, both home and away spectators, is between 1200-1500 people.
Official attendance numbers for each game were not provided to the board prior to the meeting.
Residents voiced a similar concern that was brought up in the previous meeting, reassurance. The speakers asked again for reassurance that the usage restrictions will remain past the current leadership.
Robert “Bob” Singer, a resident of Fullerton, addressed the board and wanted, “assurance that restrictions will be maintained.”
These restrictions include no football games on Friday nights and no rentals for musical performances or concerts by outside groups, among others listed in the final EIR.
Trustee, Molly McClanahan stated that the requirements are “legally binding and in perpetuity,” regardless of who is on the board.
Additionally, Fullerton College President Greg Schulz, assured the audience that parking would be free during events on the field. Free parking on campus was agreed upon to limit the number of cars within the neighborhood during a game.
“I am very disappointed,” said Scott Giles FC athletic director, after the vote.
During the vote, Trustee Area 7 Ryan Bent, along with both student representatives, voted no to the lowered seating option. The student votes are considered advisory and do not get added to the final count.
There was no comment on when the construction of the improvements will begin.