If teams think it's difficult to defeat the Corona del Mar football team now, imagine if the Sea Kings, who have an aging, pockmarked football field and play their home games at Newport Harbor High, had a legit home field advantage.
Well, opposing teams' imagination might be able to take a rest come 2014.
Corona del Mar High is in the process of securing approval from the Newport-Mesa Unified School District to build a new football stadium on the campus that would cost about $3 million, according to track coach Bill Sumner.
Sumner, who has spearheaded the effort to build the new stadium, says it will be privately funded by sponsors and members of the community.
"I have a lot of people that want this," Sumner said. "I've been thinking about it and we went to the district and they were worried about the money. But we'll bring it to them. The community will pay for it. And we'll be offering some jobs in the community as well."
Deputy superintendent Paul Reed said he and Superintendent Frederick Navarro are both in support of the new stadium – and Sumner's fundraising efforts.
Sumner presented a $15,000 check to trustees at their last meeting to pay for preliminary architectural and engineering studies to launch this effort, Reed said.
Trustees will discuss authorizing the studies at their Dec. 11 meeting, he said.
Sumner – who has worked on gathering support and information on the project for six months -- says he receives emails daily from community members looking to donate money for the stadium.
"The track is 10 to 14 years old, but I can live with it," he said. "But I can't live with that football field. We probably have the worst field in all of Orange County. As a track coach, I've been through hundreds of facilities. That football field, since I've been there, has been repaired over and over. But it's just a Band-aid. It's horrible."
CdM football coach Scott Meyer says the school is in need of a new outdoor facility for not just football, but all sports.
"It's definitely time for a new field," Meyer said. "We would love to have our own stadium for all the sports. We have to get on a bus every week and play our home games at our rival school. It would be awesome for all CdM athletes."
While the facility will be state of the art, it will not be a huge structure that will practically sit in neighbor's backyards, Sumner said.
"We're going to make it really pretty instead of big, and really futuristic," he said.
If the stadium is approved, Sumner says he hopes to break ground within the next 18 months.
"We're bringing jobs and a couple bucks into the community," he said. "It's going to last for decades, not just a couple of years. And it's going to service thousands of kids."
No. of seats: 1,500
Cost of seats: $250 each
Cost of architectural work: $900,000
Cost of field: $2.1 million
Approximate total cost: $3.7 million
Timeframe: "I would like to have the legal stuff and planning done within 9 months, and 18 months after, to start building it. I hope to break ground this time next year." – Track Coach Bill Sumner
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