Fullerton College to Seek Input on Sherbeck Field this Winter
In early 2018, Fullerton College will host a community scoping meeting to inform the college community, public and agencies about the proposed lighting and bleachers on Sherbeck Field for which an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) will be prepared. This scoping meeting will inform the public about the environmental and public review process, seek input regarding the proposed project and issues to be studied in the EIR, and identify issues of concern and areas of potential controversy. The college is committed to transparency and access and would like to share details about this process so the community can be informed, engaged and provide input.
Sherbeck Field is located on the northeastern section of the campus along Berkeley Avenue and is currently used in the daytime for classes, track and field competitions, football practices, athletic training activities, and the annual commencement ceremony.
Tentative plans call for permanent bleachers and the return of permanent lights, located on both sides of the field. Details of the proposed improvements and a proposed field usage policy are under development and will be provided in the Initial Study in early 2018.
The need for lighting and bleachers is multifaceted. There are considerable cost-savings associated with permanent bleachers. Fullerton College will save more than $100,000 per year by adding permanent bleachers and lights to the field.
First, the rental costs for bleachers at each commencement ceremony is approximately $67,000 per year. Cost savings would also come from the high cost of having offsite home football games at Yorba Linda High School. Fullerton College currently spends approximately $5,865 a game, or $35,190 per season, to play at the high school. This cost factors in renting the high school field, transporting student-athletes by bus and provision of security.
Second, returning lights to Sherbeck Field would also allow access after sunset in the early evenings for physical education courses, games and more access to the field for community members to exercise. This is particularly important when daylight saving time ends, and it is dark by 5 p.m.
Third, a recent implementation of a legislative change to the California Community College Athletic Association prevents community colleges from playing post-season games on high school football fields. Therefore, Yorba Linda High School’s football field and the newly renovated Fullerton Union High School field are no longer viable options for the Hornets’ home football field.
Originally, the proposed changes to Sherbeck Field were part of a larger Initial Study to the Facilities Master Plan EIR, which encompassed the entire college footprint and included construction and renovation projects over the next 20 years. In an effort to respond to concerns raised at scoping meetings in the fall of 2016, the North Orange County Community College District decided a separate CEQA process for the Sherbeck Field improvements was warranted.
A separate CEQA process for Sherbeck Field would afford the district the opportunity to fully define the project’s scope and need for the project as well as provide more opportunity for public review and input.
The majority of the projects in the Facilities Master Plan EIR will be funded by Measure J, which voters approved in November 2014. However, Measure J funds have never been earmarked for Sherbeck Field. Any changes to Sherbeck Field would be financed through several years of savings generated from accumulated carryover funds.
Fullerton College has been located at its current site for 104 years and is among the oldest colleges in the State of California. Throughout this history, the college has strived to support the educational and career goals of its students and be a good neighbor. During the scoping meeting in early 2018, the college will seek input regarding the proposed project and issues to be studied in the EIR. The college is here to partner and is dedicated to continue being a good neighbor.
For more information on construction and renovation projects at Fullerton College, visit www.fullcoll.edu/campusprojects.
(Originally submitted to the Fullerton Observer to be published on October 30, 2017.)