In a way, the Ripon Community Athletic Foundation defied the odds of what appeared to be a pipe dream some 10 years ago.
The vision back then was a major renovation of the stadium at Ripon High. Stouffer Field, in 2007, was all but a dilapidated facility consisting of a dirt track and a football-only infield.
Vince and Stephanie Hobbs, among others, conceived a synthetic football / soccer field coupled with an eight-lane, all-weather track surface.
“There wasn’t a place on campus for soccer,” recalled Stephanie Hobbs on Thursday.
The Indians used various Ripon Unified elementary school sites along with Mistlin Sports Park to host their boys and girls home soccer games.
With the exception of the artificial turf for the playing field, RCAF has managed to cross most everything off its wish list from back then thanks to countless volunteer hours, donations and the support from local businesses and the school district, to name a few.
Hobbs recalled that economy was far from ideal when the RCAF’s efforts initially kicked off – right at the start of the Great Recession, from 2007 to 2012.
She’s amazed to this day that RCAF was able to get $1.8 million of donated and installed infrastructure in the stadium.
This community effort also made possible:
uAn area for track field events such as the shotput, discus, long jump, triple jump and pole vault.
uAbout 600 yards of concrete and all new fencing.
uA double-sided LED scoreboard.
The home spectator area was recently cleared away, making room for an all-new bleachers and press box. Menghetti Construction out of Modesto was hired to handle that part of the construction, with work expected to be completed by May.
Hobbs and company are nearing the finish line or the final phase of the revitalization efforts – new stadium ticket booths with ADA-compliant restroom facilities.
RUSD recently gave the go-ahead for an architect to handle this part of the project.
The funding was provided by RCAF and the RHS Booster Club – the two teamed up a year ago, raising $50,000 – and RUSD, which matched that ($50,000) to make it $100,000 altogether to go towards replacing the restrooms.
“This might be it for (RCAF) but if other funding comes up, I can see us helping out,” said Hobbs, who mentioned a gateway project leading from North Acacia Avenue to the stadium, as one such example.
For more information, log on to www.rcafsite.com.