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Groundbreaking nears for Ripon stadium work

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POSTED August 25, 2011 1:53 a.m.

RIPON – Finally, the Ripon Community Athletic Foundation can talk ground-breaking celebration on Phase I of the Stouffer Field revitalization project.

Members of the non-profit group will be able to do just that at their Sept. 1 board of directors meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Ripon Memorial Library’s Community Room, 333 W. Main St.

“Rebuilding Ripon’s only stadium benefits the entire community,” said RCAF President Stephanie Hobbs earlier this week. “Attending this meeting is a great opportunity (for the public) to gain better insight, get accurate information, and catch the contagious excitement over the progress of bringing the major cultural hub of Ripon to the safety and lifestyle standards we all appreciate.”

RCAF was established in 2007 as a grass-root effort to upgrade the over 70-year-old football field and track at Ripon High.

Some of the initial plans were scaled down, including the switch from synthetic turf to a natural sports grass for the football field.

This and other agenda items include:

• An update and explanation of the timing to install the track and field.

• Raising an additional $245,000 to make possible the all-weather track surface.

• Plans to increase the seating capacity by 60 percent with the future bleachers.  “We can’t install them after the track and field is finished and $700,000 is raised,” Hobbs said.

• A report on the brick fundraiser.

Hobbs noted that the RHS field and track had not been addressed since the early 1970s.

She said the track was graded and compacted, the irrigation system was repaired, and the turf was planted.

“At that time, the (facility) supported the football and track programs from the one high school with an enrollment of 370 students,” Hobbs said.

Today, Stouffer Field is home to the RHS Indians, the Ripon Christian Knights, and the two youth football programs.

“That’s 75 games a year played on the same field,” she added.

Phase I was submitted a few months ago to the Division of State Architect in Sacramento, but stalled due to trying to find a suitable location at RHS for the discus toss / shot put venues.

The changes were made just a few weeks ago when school board approved the revision, using the far corner of the stadium closest to the railroad track. That area was initially planned as a drainage area for the synthetic playing field but was made available for discus / shot put once RCAF opted for the natural sports grass.

For more information, call (209) 599-6861 or log on to www.recafsite.com

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