LOMPOC, Calif. - The campaign to renovate Lompoc's aging Huyck Stadium received a huge financial boost on Tuesday.
At a press conference at the Lompoc Unified School District offices, it was announced the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation has donated $450,000 towards the project.
"Huyck Stadium has been home to countless high school sporting events and community gatherings throughout its history," said Chumash chairman Kenneth Kahn in a statement. "To ensure that student-athletes and the Lompoc community can continue enjoying their stadium for years to come, our tribe is proud to announce this significant commitment to help renovate the facilty."
The donation pushes the fundraising effort towards the $2.4 million goal closer to completion.
Already, the school district has earmarked $1.2 million for the project, plus it was also announced Tuesday an anonymous $100,000 donation has been received.
In addition, the donor will match what the community is able to raise up to an addition $100,000.
With the district funds, combined with the two donations announced Tuesday, the project organizers have now raised $1,750,000.
"This really gives us hope and a lot of momentum to the project, so when we get a donation like we did from the Chumash, it really buoys us to take it to the next level," said Lompoc Unified School District superintendent Trevor McDonald. "Now we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it's always easier when you have a little wind at your back."
The campaign is a joint effort by the school district and Lompoc Valley Community Healthcare Organization (LVCHO). The goal is to modernize the stadium's grass surface and track.
The 55-year-old facility is long overdue for an upgrade. The stadium's grass is completely worn out in many areas and is lined with numerous gopher holes, while the crushed red brick track is too small to hold official CIF-sanctioned track meets and is unusable after rainy weather.
The proposal calls for the grass field to be converted to synthetic turf and for the track to be changed to a nine-lane all-weather rubber surface.
"The project is vitally important," said LVCHO executive director Ashley Costa, "Santa Barbara County is experiencing an obesity epidemic. According to a UCLA study, 48.6% of Lompoc children are classified as overweight or obese, the highest in Santa Barbara County. Changes to our surrounding infrastructure, like the track and field project, are needed to influence a positive shift in Lompoc's wellbeing."
Costa added about 130,000 use the stadium annually, including youth sports, such as AYSO and community events, like Relay For Life.
The renovation of Huyck Stadium, she added, will not only benefit Lompoc High School, which is adjacent to the facility, but also each school within the Lompoc Unified School District, as well as all community members.
"Huyck Stadium is the place where the community comes together," said Costa. "It is in the center of town, a place of communion and celebration. It truly is the heart of the community."
Costa adds the additional $650,000 needed to reach the $2.4 million goal, will come through various sources, such as grants, donations and fundraising efforts.
Construction is scheduled to begin in fall 2018, with work slated to take about 10 months and be completed in time for fall 2019.