He can already feel excitement building among Tracy High sports fans for the 2013-14 season as the school prepares to show off its newest athletic venue.
“I imagine there will be a couple games this year where these bleachers will be completely full,” Shrout said.
The stadium, with room for 4,000 fans, is the latest piece of Tracy High’s overall campus renovation.
“This is just another step forward,” Shrout said. “We have one of the nicest gyms around, they’re redoing the tennis courts. … You add this, and why would you not want to be a Bulldog?”
Shrout and Tracy High Athletic Director Gary Henderson toured the stadium Friday, June 21, with Bonny Carter, the Tracy Unified School District facilities director, and Anthony Continente of RGM & Associates, the stadium project manager.
Shrout plans to have his team on the new field starting Aug. 12, when the Sac-Joaquin Section allows practice to begin. Oakdale High’s football team will visit Tracy on Aug. 24 for a scrimmage, and the grand opening of the new stadium, complete with fireworks, will be the Aug. 30 season opener against Sierra High of Manteca.
Shrout expects big crowds for the first game and when Tracy hosts West High on Sept. 27.
“You don’t get much bigger than that in this town,” Shrout said. “If things work out, we’ll have a few playoff games, and those will draw pretty well.”
Centerpiece of campus transformation
The new Wayne Schneider Stadium is the biggest part of a $9.9 million contract with Roebbelen Contracting of El Dorado Hills.
The district also remodeled 12 portable buildings, including eight that remain next to the stadium and four that were moved to the east side of campus.
Tracy High’s tennis courts also have a new look. The court surfaces are unchanged, but new fences and an amphitheater for spectators are being added.
The project includes a new fire lane, still under construction, leading from the east end of the campus to the stadium.
Crews were finishing landscaping this week, planting trees in the plaza between the main gate and the bleachers. A new ticket booth and the Tracy Breakfast Lions’ snack bar — the only building that stayed intact during the demolition of the old stadium — also need a coat of paint.
Despite a few delays — Southern Bleacher of Texas had to remove and refinish some of the galvanized rail supports on the bleachers — Carter said the projected completion date of July 8 is only a month behind the original plans.
The stadium has the same basic design as Steve Lopez Stadium at West High and Don Nicholson Stadium at Kimball High.
A large “T” at the 50-yard line and Bulldog paw prints at the 20-yard lines highlight the new field, which is covered with synthetic grass and filled with sand and ground rubber pellets.
It’s a soft surface now, but construction manager Anthony Continente said it will settle as football and soccer players compete in the stadium.
“Right now, it’s almost like walking on the beach,” Continente said. “They get compacted so you’ll have a faster field.”
Artificial turf needs less maintenance than a grass field, but built-in sprinklers will be needed to cool the surface when football teams start playing in August.
“The only thing that’s not done is getting the water cannon adjusted,” Continente said, adding that the spray also keeps the field clean.
The district uses similar sprinkler systems at West and Kimball.
Wired for modern media
Underground boxes between the field and the nine-lane, all-weather track conceal electrical outlets, and a box at the 50-yard line also contains microphone and USB connections.
Continente said the stadium is hard-wired to allow scorekeeping, announcements and communications from the field or the press box, and it’s designed to accommodate wireless communications.
“You can operate the entire sound system from right here,” Continente said from the 50-yard line. “If you have an iPad and the right app, you can wirelessly manipulate it.”
Underground conduits surround the field and allow for electronic connections from all corners of the stadium. Shrout said that will allow a new dimension of audio and video in the recordings football players and coaches watch as they critique their games.
The team could also make games more accessible to people who can’t make it to the stadium on Friday nights.
“We can set it up so we could have a laptop in the press box with a coach — we can run all of our cameras right into that computer,” Shrout said. “As the game is going, you’ll have the potential to stream video, so people all over the world can watch it on the Web.”
Such a setup would not be unprecedented, he said.
“There are websites now where you can go on, pick a school to watch, and then you can actually pick the angle,” he said. “You can watch from the end zone, you can watch from the press box.”
Henderson, the athletic director, said Tracy High will also gain the latest technology in track and field meet timing, with the potential to make the finish line an electronic media center.
“You could hook up all of your computers and score (the meet) right there as they finish each race,” Henderson said.
That puts Tracy High on the map as schools strive to host league and regional meets.
Henderson said he and Jay Fishburn, the track and field coach, are planning to play host to the spring 2014 All-City Meet, which has been at Kimball High. They hope to convince the San Joaquin Athletic Association to have its 2014 league finals at Tracy High.
“We’ll have a large invitational at some point,” Henderson said. “We’ll take baby steps.”
• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.