Lompoc Unified School District broke ground Dec. 3 on the Lompoc Community Track and Sports Field in Huyck Stadium. 

The renovation of the track and field has been more than a decade in the making. 

Thirteen years ago, Tom Blanco grew tired of seeing his physical education students skip P.E. because they didn’t want to ruin their shoes on Lompoc High’s red brick track. 

He saw the benefit of upgrading the track and field surfaces not only for his students and school athletes but for the community at large. After decades working as the athletic trainer for Lompoc High School and attending hundreds of nighttime soccer games, he also had firsthand experience with community members asking to run the track during games. 

What he quickly came to understand was that there was no safe, well-lit place for community members to exercise after the sun goes down. 

The project stalled thirteen years ago due to lack of funding, but was resurrected six years ago when Blanco approached 1984 Lompoc High alum Ginger Salazar and 2005 Lompoc High alum Ashley Costa for help. 

Salazar, who lives in Santa Barbara and serves on the boards of the Santa Barbara Foundation and Towbes Foundation and is a retired entrepreneur, and Costa, a former Lompoc City Council member and current executive director of Lompoc Valley Community Healthcare Organization and Blanco proved to be a winning team.

“While the three of us shared leadership getting the project off the ground and keeping it moving, the project could not have happened without the leadership of Lompoc Unified School District’s Trevor McDonald, our local volunteers and all of our donors. This was a 100 percent community effort,” Costa said. 

The project has been a true public/private partnership, demonstrating what can be achieved when the public and private sectors work together and the broader community engages in a joint effort. 

Of the $3.8 million total cost, $1.65 million was raised from individual donors, businesses and foundations. More than 300 Lompoc residents and businesses donated $300,000, $450,000 was donated by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, and $900,000 was raised from foundations and businesses in Santa Barbara. 

“After growing up in Lompoc, and living in Santa Barbara, I see the interdependence of the two cities. Many people live in Lompoc, but work in Santa Barbara. Others live in Santa Barbara, but work in Lompoc. Our high schools are part of the same Channel League with our kids competing against each other in both Lompoc and Santa Barbara. Our student athletes in Santa Barbara will have the pleasure of playing on the new track and field when playing both Lompoc and Cabrillo High School,” Salazar said. 

“Foundations from South County supporting programs, projects, and scholarships in Lompoc is not a new thing. A lot of smart and giving people understand the interconnectedness of these two cities and the value that each brings to the vibrancy of Santa Barbara County life. The more than $900,000 we raised from Santa Barbara-based foundations and businesses is recognition of this interdependence and that although we may have different ZIP codes, we are one Santa Barbara County,” she added. 

The stadium will be closed during construction and reopened in May 2020. 

“I have been working on this for thirteen years. Six months will be here before we know it. I can’t wait!” Blanco said. 

For more information, visit http://lompoctrackandfield