Wednesday, September 19 , 2018, 9:05 am | Fair 58º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Chumash Tribe’s Gift Jump Starts Campaign to Renovate Lompoc’s Huyck Stadium

Leaders hope to build momentum for stadium project in 'the heart of Lompoc community'

Chumash Tribal Chairman Kenneth Kahn, from left, joins with Ashley Costa, executive director of the Lompoc Valley Community Healthcare Organization, tribal member Maxine Littlejohn and Lompoc Unified School District Superintendent Trevor McDonald for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians donation of $450,000 to help fund renovations of the track and field at Huyck Stadium in Lompoc. Click to view larger
Chumash Tribal Chairman Kenneth Kahn, from left, joins with Ashley Costa, executive director of the Lompoc Valley Community Healthcare Organization, tribal member Maxine Littlejohn and Lompoc Unified School District Superintendent Trevor McDonald for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians donation of $450,000 to help fund renovations of the track and field at Huyck Stadium in Lompoc.  (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

A $450,000 donation from the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation provided a big boost for a campaign for renovations at Huyck Stadium, the 54-year-old track and field that serves as the heart of Lompoc.

Approximately 40 community leaders gathered Tuesday to announce the capital campaign for the project that is expected to benefit students and local residents alike.

Organizers said the "transformative gift" from the Chumash pushed the project closer to fruition, and allowed the group to launch the $2.4 million capital campaign to renovate the Lompoc Unified School District facility.

So far, the project has collected $1.75 million toward the goal.

“With any project like this, the hardest thing is to start it,” district Superintendent Trevor McDonald said, adding that the donation will kick-start fundraising.

“What we didn’t have on this project is momentum,” he said.

In addition to the donation from the Chumash, an anonymous donor has promised to match donations up to $100,000, McDonald said. 

“Huyck Stadium is a place where the community comes together. It’s the center of town, a place of communion and a place of celebration. It is simply the heart of the Lompoc community,” said Ashley Costa, executive director the Lompoc Valley Community Healthcare Organization. 

Chumash Tribal Chairman Kenneth Kahn said the $450,000 donation to the Huyck Stadium renovation ‘fits right with the Chumash tradition of giving.’ Click to view larger
Chumash Tribal Chairman Kenneth Kahn said the $450,000 donation to the Huyck Stadium renovation ‘fits right with the Chumash tradition of giving.’ (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“And all of this happens in Huyck Stadium in spite of the dilapidated and outdated state of the track and field,” Costa said. 

In addition to school-related events, the stadium serves as a community gathering place hosting events such as the Relay for Life, the Fourth of July fireworks celebration and sports opening ceremonies serving an estimated 130,000 annually.

The existing track employs crushed red brick, dating back to 1963, and is responsible for many abrasion injuries and ruined shoes — oftentimes the only pair a student might own, Costa said.

The toll of time has worn down the crown on the grass sports field, which lacks adequate drainage, leading to flooding that makes the stadium off-limits for several days after rainfalls.

Beyond benefiting students, the renovated facility will provide a well-lit, safe, free place for community members looking to exercise after dark.

Plans call for installing an all-weather rubber track with nine lanes, meaning it will be qualified for hosting regional CIF track meets. Instead of deteriorated natural grass, the field would boast synthetic polyurethane or artificial turf.

“This fits right with Chumash tradition of giving, of community and really bringing people together,” said Tribal Chairman Kenneth Kahn. 

The Lompoc school district committed $1.2 million toward the renovation in 2017, McDonald said.

While the stadium is adjacent to Lompoc High School, it’s also used by Cabrillo High and other Lompoc schools.

McDonald noted the heavy community use of the Santa Barbara City College track throughout the day, and envisions something similar for Huyck Stadium.

“This just allows another opportunity for folks in Lompoc to be able to use in a real positive manner,” he said, adding that the renovated facility will benefit the community as well as students.

District officials have already submitted plans to the state for the project’s design, with hopes of having the new track and field ready by fall 2019, he added.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

A $450,000 donation from the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation provided a big boost for a campaign to renovate Huyck Stadium, a 54-year-old track and field that serves as the heart of Lompoc. Click to view larger
A $450,000 donation from the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation provided a big boost for a campaign to renovate Huyck Stadium, a 54-year-old track and field that serves as the heart of Lompoc. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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