The Foundation for Santa Barbara High School and Santa Barbara Unified School District will host a dedication ceremony on Saturday, July 3 to mark the official completion of the renovated Peabody Stadium.
The event will include an open house starting at 4 p.m., followed by a 5:15 p.m. presentation and ribbon cutting ceremony in recognition of the generous contributions and collaboration that made the $39 million “Home of the Dons” sports complex a reality.
The fundraising was a community effort, with more than 600 families purchasing a named seat for $1,000 each.
Honorees expected to attend include Santa Barbara High School (SBHS) alumni Peter and Gerd Jordano, Doug Allred, David and Louise Borgatello, and brothers Sam and Randall Cunningham, sports legends of the historic, 1924 campus.
Also attending will be Capital Campaign Chair Greg Tebbe, Principal Elise Simmons, School Board President Kate Ford, Superintendent Hilda Maldanado, former Superintendent Cary Matsuoka, and others who have played a role in bringing the complex project to completion.
Visitors will enjoy the sounds of the Dons Madrigals as they assemble in song with the “Star Spangled Banner,” and the Dons’ alma mater, “Santa Barbara, Hail to Thee!”
During the past year, the pandemic caused delays in scheduling the official dedication event, but with COVID-19 protocols for outdoor gatherings now loosened, organizers are rolling out the red carpet.
Dons cheerleaders, athletes and students will welcome visitors as they view the renovation, including the newly named Cunningham Track, Peter and Gerd Jordano Plaza, Marborg Industries Plaza, Hutton Parker Foundation Tunnel, and Doug and Ann Allred Veterans Memorial. Montecito Bank & Trust is the scoreboard sponsor.
One of the oldest high schools in California, Santa Barbara High was established in 1875, and moved to its current site in 1924. In November 2005, its 18th-century Spanish influenced design was named an official California and city historic landmark.
Today, Santa Barbara High has a student enrollment of about 2,200, and often makes the list in rankings of the most beautiful high schools in the nation. The transformation of the dated stadium, track and field, and adjacent facilities further elevates the campus.
The school’s newspaper The Forge, in continuous publication since 1914, making it the second oldest high school newspaper in California, will cover the event.
The Foundation for Santa Barbara High School raised $5 million from private sources to begin the stadium project from 2014-16. Construction began in 2018 and was completed in 2020.
The stadium will remain named in honor of the original benefactor,Frederick Forrest Peabody, who was the district’s first superintendent and who donated the original 1924 grandstands. The renovation, completed in 2020, included replacement of the concrete stadium and installation of a synthetic track and artificial turf.
The new synthetic Mondo track is the quality used in the Olympics, and adheres to CIF standards, enabling the school to host competitive meets. The artificial turf field allows for year-round use. The layout of the track and field also allows for international play soccer, with a wider field than is often seen.
New named spaces in Peabody Stadium include:
Cunningham Track — Four Cunningham brothers attended SBHS: Sam (’69), Anthony (’73), Bruce (’79), and Randall (’81). All were distinguished athletes during their high school years and beyond, excelling in football and in track.
Sam, the eldest, played in the National Football League with the New England Patriots. He was a high school state champion in shot-put and an accomplished 100-meter runner. Randall, the youngest brother, also played quarterback in football and excelled in high jump. He later played 16 professional seasons in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles.
The naming honors the legacy of the Cunningham family and recognizes its enduring impact on Santa Barbara. An anonymous donor made a gift to the campaign and chose the name Cunningham Track.
Peter and Gerd Jordano Donor Plaza — Peter and Gerd Jordano are known in the Santa Barbara community for their work and philanthropy. Peter Jordano has led the 100+-year-old, family-owned Jordanos Foodservice businesses since the 1970s. Gerd Jordano is a former nurse and has been involved with many organizations including the Alzheimer’s Association.
Both Peter and Gerd graduated from SBHS and were instrumental in creating the community support needed for the Peabody Stadium Renovation capital campaign. A donor plaza at the bottom of the “walk down the hill,” with plaques commemorating donors of $10,000 and more, has been established in their honor.
Doug and Ann Allred Veterans Memorial — Doug Allred was born in Cottage Hospital, went to Franklin Elementary School, Santa Barbara Junior High School, and then Santa Barbara High, graduating in 1953. He excelled in football and baseball, and went to the University of Arizona on a football scholarship.
After college, he enlisted in the Navy’s elite UCT/Seals program before beginning a successful career in real estate and real estate development. His wife Ann passed away in 2013. Doug and Ann have five children, two of whom played professional football.
Of his gift to the school, Doug said, “I love Santa Barbara High and have great memories and great friends from there.”
The Doug and Ann Allred Veterans Memorial, co-located at the flagpole and Peabody Cornerstone rock, lists all SBHS graduates who have perished serving our country.
Hutton Parker Foundation Tunnel — A cornerstone philanthropic institution in our community, the Hutton Parker Foundation supported the renovation of Peabody Stadium so it could be a resource for the students at SBHS and the entire community.
The Hutton Parker Foundation Tunnel allows athletes to make a grand entrance from the stadium onto the track and field, which has been a long cherished tradition at Santa Barbara High School.
MarBorg Industries Plaza — MarBorg Industries honors its coworkers as family, and its customers as neighbors. The company’s gift to SBHS to complete Peabody Stadium aligns with its long-standing support of youth and community.
Located between the existing field house and the new stadium, MarBorg Industries Plaza is a prominent gathering area for students, teams and spectators.