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Trustees to Vote on Fullerton College Stadium

The North Orange County Community College District (NOCCCD) Board of Trustees is expected to vote at their Nov 12 meeting on the proposed stadium at Fullerton College. If they approve the project, construction could start as early as January.

NOCCCD representatives presented the latest stadium plans at a Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday Oct 22.

The district published their Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) recently. Here’s the link to download it (www.fullcoll.edu/docs/SFFEcorrected.pdf).

There was a formal presentation of the Final EIR led by FC President Dr. Greg Schulz. Reps from Dudek (EIR consultants) and the sound, lighting, and traffic experts also spoke. The public comment period followed, which went for about 45 minutes. The first 7-8 speakers, all staff, alumni, and a couple students from the District/College, spoke in support of the project.

Before the Final EIR was published, NOCCCD President Brown organized a meeting between leaders of the group opposing the stadium as well as Chancellor Marshall, President Schulz, and Rodrigo Garcia, who is overseeing the stadium project on behalf of Fullerton College. Many of the concerns expressed by the opposition group leaders in this meeting were included in the Final EIR as restrictions on usage of the stadium.

These include no ability to use the stadium for concerts, to allow any sound system to be used except for games, and no high school games except in exigent circumstances. Concessions were also made to the City of Fullerton about approving and paying for traffic control.

Those opposed to the stadium had a large turnout and there were many speakers. Some focused on the effects on the neighborhood and City of Fullerton, which were not addressed or alleviated by the use restrictions, such as lighting late at night on weekdays. Several spoke about the “lack of respect” shown by the NOCCCD during the EIR process. Others said that the NOCCCD still has not justified the stadium, pointing out that:

-The football program has a “long history of success,” without a stadium. They obviously don’t need one for recruiting.

-The stadium would be used for only 5 games per year, and would otherwise be 90-98% empty.

-Additional PE classes are not needed, because PE classes are open across

Fullerton College’s schedule.  (Information in the formal presentation supported this.)

-The stadium takes more than $6 million away from more deserving and important goals like hiring more teachers, improving STEM labs, scholarships and grants, and providing services to veterans and traditionally disadvantaged (and usually ignored) groups.

-For a fraction of the cost, all of Fullerton College’s football-related desires can be met by sharing Fullerton High School’s stadium, with much smaller projects addressing the other objectives.

Following the public comment was Q&A by the Trustees. There were several questions about lowering the seating capacity of the stadium to 2,000 seats, and other questions on a variety of issues such as lowering the lighting, lowering the sound, traffic impacts, and the reason for calling the stadium a “classroom.”

Artist’s rendering of proposed Fullerton College stadium.

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3 replies »

  1. The board seemed confused about what they were approving and how to approve it.

    First they voted to give themselves immunity from the City of Fullerton’s zoning and General Plan despite not having received a legal opinion on the matter as Trustee Lopez requested. Lopez abstained from the vote and Blount apposed the decision. The immunity item was approved on a 5-2 vote.

    Next they approved the EIR for a 4,000 seat stadium without consideration for a 2,000 seat option as request by the neighborhood who felt the reduced seating would lessen traffic, noise, and light impacts.

    Then, when it came time to vote on the project, Trustee McClanahan asked to consider the item with 2,000 seats. Trustee Blount offered a substitute motion for the change, but the board president, Trustee Brown, would not accept the motion saying it was “out of order.”

    President Brown said they should vote to approve the 4,000 seat stadium and then bring another item forward at a later meeting to change the project. The Dudek consultant who had prepared the EIR and project documents said that would be an “unusual scenario.” He recommended that they instead decline the project and bring back a revised plan.

    There was discussion among the board members about “tabling” the item and having another public hearing. No one was clear on the appropriate process. It was curious to me why they did not “continue” the public hearing. But one thing was for sure, Trustee Dunsheath did not want to consider a reduction in the seating if that meant she would have to hear more public comment at another public hearing!

    The project was approved on a 5 to 3 vote with most, including Brown stating they preferred a 2,000 seat stadium. Blount and Lopez also preferred the lesser number of seats, however, they voted accordingly and registered their votes as, “No.”

    Rodarte also voted, “No,” because she said that a 2,000 seat stadium would be adequate to support the educational needs, such as nighttime soccer, track, and other offerings. Rodarte’s reasoning, interestingly, puts cracks into the argument made in the last “whereas” clause in the immunity resolution that states that the 4,000 seat field project is “directly used for and related to educational purposes.”

    McClanahan, despite initiating the request for a 2,000 seat alternative, voted for the 4,000 seat project with the assumption that the board would vote again in the future to change the project.

  2. Oops, I should have said the last item was approved with a 4 to 3 vote. There are 7 voting members and two student representatives (who vote but their votes do not count).

  3. It’s simple: The Fullerton College Board of Trustees wants $6 million for 91 football players, half of whom don’t live in the area, several from out of state…$6 million for .0037% of the Fullerton College student body…$6 million for 5 football games…$6 million
    to disrupt whole neighborhoods with trash, noise, speeding cars…$6 million that includes powerful tower lighting even though the home games are played in the daytime…$6 million when for a fraction of that they can play in the recently renovated football stadium directly across the street…$6 million that is taken away from the countless students at FC who are in financial distress
    $6 million !!

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