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Whittier College Finalizes Plans For Stadium Renovations

Whittier College will take the first step in the renovation of its athletic facilities with the resurfacing of Newman Field and Bonham Track in Memorial Stadium this summer.  The project is set to begin May 27 and finish August 15, in time for the 2008 football and soccer seasons.

The project involves three athletic facilities: Chief Newman Football Field, Aubrey Bonham Track and Donald E. Graham Soccer/Lacrosse Field.  Byrom-Davies, Inc. is the contractor for the entire project.  They will dig up the grass field and sprinkler system just days after the Whittier College graduation ceremony and the process will continue through the summer. 

Chief Newman Field will be the first to receive a makeover.  The current grass turf will be replaced with Sprinturf Ultrablade DF synthetic turf, which has a unique state-of-the-art, vertically-draining, all-rubber infill system.  The field will be complete with lines for football and soccer competition, and the ability to add lines for men's and women's lacrosse.

The new synthetic turf surface will not be used for Track and Field events, and as a result, the Donald E. Graham Soccer/Lacrosse Field will be reconfigured to accommodate events such as the discus, shot put and javelin.  The Aubrey Bonham Track in Memorial Stadium will be repainted as well.

The final piece of the puzzle will be a new press box looking over the new turf from the top of the stadium.  The press box will include a VIP Section, home and away coaches' boxes, areas for scoreboard operators, statisticians, media members and office space.  There will be phone and internet connections throughout the building.  The top of the press box will accommodate all of the video taping needs for both teams.

The new field will also be available to others at Whittier.  "We hope that the new field will bring more than just a top-notch field for our athletes to play on," said Director of Athletics Rob Coleman.  "This will be something the entire campus community can enjoy as we incorporate a more prevalent intramural program at the College."

Coleman has other plans for the field as well.  In the past, local high schools and organizations rented the field for football games and other events.  "It will give us an opportunity to provide more revenue for the Athletics Department," said Coleman.  "Because it is easier to maintain and will stay in top condition year-round, we can allow more events to take place and bring more people to Whittier College."

The improvements to these facilities will provide a powerful recruiting tool as well. "The new sprint turf and press box will give Whittier football one of the top practice and game facilities in all of NCAA Division III," says head football coach, BJ Hammer.  "It shows that Whittier College is committed to developing a program that can win SCIAC Championships and compete on the national stage.  The new field will benefit everyone on campus and it will be a huge recruiting tool."

Funds for the project were provided by multiple donations from alumni and friends of the College.  Gifts from Ray and Joan Dezember, Chet and Olive McCloskey and David Mandarich made the turf field installation possible, while a gift from Bill Wood will allow the new press box to be assembled.

Ray Dezember graduated from Whittier in 1953, and has since served as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees.  His wife, Joan, is a 1956 graduate of the College.  Chet McCloskey graduated in 1940 and his wife, Olive, is a member of the Class of 1944.  The pair have been involved with the College ever since their graduation; Chet is a former Alumni Achievement Award Recipient.  Mandarich is a Purple & Gold member whose son, Chris Mandarich, played lacrosse and graduated from Whittier.  Wood is a member of the Board of Trustees and received an honorary degree from the College in 1998.

Their generosity will benefit Whittier College for years to come.