The public voiced their concerns on the Sherbeck Field Improvements Project Final Enviromental Impact Report at the Board of Trustees meeting on Oct. 22.
The project was initially part of the Facilities Master Plan EIR. However, in response to public concerns during the scoping meeting in 2016, the North Orange County Community College District created a separate environmental review in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act.
The project set out to build, six field lighting stanchions, a sound system only used for athletic competition events, a press box, a storage building, scoreboard and install 4,417 permanent aluminum bleachers.
The Sherbeck project is estimated to cost $5.6 million and the EIR total was $538,500. The funding came from several years of savings due to an accumulation of the campus fund carryover. The project does not use Measure J nor Measure X funds for the stadium. Additional information regarding the NOCCCD financial report can be viewed here.
Clay Gaetje and Tanya McCrory were among the residents who believed that the money should be used for other needs instead of spending it on bleachers and lights.
“The chancellor of the system said we need to focus on veterans, returning students and STEM,” Gaetje said. “Getting students out faster, getting them into their ADT program. None of that is related to the stadium.”
McCory expressed her concerns about the Fullerton High School stadium directly across the street is redundant.
In response to the concerns addressed during the meeting and previously, FC Director of Campus Communications Lisa McPheron expressed that during the district meeting there were alternative solutions discussed. The four options included: no project, continue for a 2000 seat bleachers, using FUHS and using CSUF.
Having games played at a high school stadium does not meet sizing requirements for post-season games, according to the Community College Athletic Association. CSUF limits football games being played and the rental cost is impossible for Fullerton College to pay. A reduced seat solution will not be enough for competitions and commencement.
McPheron also addressed that having the bleachers and lights in the stadium, will save FC more than $55,000 of field rentals and transportation costs per year, along with the commencement ceremony cost.
The community was not happy in the first place that a stadium is being built next door to them. That means heavy traffic, noise and light spillage will affect the community.
The spillages were addressed and outlined in the Sherbeck Field Environmental Impact Report, it was found that no significant noise and light spillage will affect the community under controlled limits, however traffic noise during the game is not avoidable.
The plan for Sherbeck Field is to hold additional night classes, athletic training, competitions and the Commencement Ceremony. However, there have been strict rules placed on the stadium for outside users and time limits that will be enforced.
The next meeting is Tuesday, Nov. 12 and the board will discuss further on the next decision for Sherbeck Field.
FC is set for other construction and renovation projects in the future years. More information about future construction plans on the Fullerton College campus, can be viewed here.