Costa Mesa High School athletics boosters weighed in Monday on a preliminary proposal for a revamped football and soccer field with an all-weather track around it.
School district planners are in the middle of a feasibility study considering what exactly to build at the new on-campus sports facility that would replace the current field and track. At a public meeting, they asked what parents, boosters and coaches expected.
They provided suggestions but repeated one overarching request:
"We've got to get moving on this because it's been a long time," Mesa track booster Gary Bermudez said.
Many of the few dozen attendees have pushed for this project for years, Newport-Mesa Unified School District Trustee Katrina Foley said.
"I would suspect most people here don't want to start from scratch," she said. "We've put in a lot of sweat equity and time and resources already developing a plan that might work for this site."
A previous sports facility plan was scuttled when the project became too big and met logistical hurdles, said Jim Lamond, the district's director of facilities development planning design.
This plan is a scaled-back version with the bare bones being built on $3.5 million from the city of Costa Mesa, he said.
Before boosters, coaches and parents could lay out their ambitions for the project, the city's public services director, Ernesto Munoz, laid out that sketch.
The city proposes to pay for a synthetic turf field, all-weather track, lighting, fencing and some minimal storage and seating, he said.
"I think it's important to start from what it was the city proposed before we start talking about restrooms and large bleachers and other things," he said.
Newport-Mesa and the city plan to split upkeep costs and use of the field once it's completed.
Monday's meeting was scheduled to ask stakeholders what they want in the project, in addition to what the city plans to pay for.
Any add-ons, though, would have to find other funding.
"I think we should shoot for pie in the sky," responded Byron de Arakal, chairman of Costa Mesa's parks and recreation commission.
Costa Mesa's youth sports community would be able to raise funds for restrooms, a concession stand and more, he said.
State regulations will likely require a bathroom at the site, Lamond said, and Mesa's principal, Phil D'Agostino, said bleachers are a must.
"If we don't have some kind of seating, and people are standing around watching our soccer game or track and field event," he said, "that would be a problem."
Much of the facility will be designed to be added onto at a later date, Luis Arambula, the project's architect said, with infrastructure planned for expansion.
During the feasibility study, they will take into account future construction like added bleachers, lighting and other amenities, he said.
The crowd repeatedly returned to their request for speed.
An agreement between the city and Newport-Mesa dictates the architect return with a study of what's feasible at the site within three months and return for more public input once a design is drawn.
Planners said they hope to avoid triggering a lengthy environmental review of the project and could build during the school year, if teams don't object to being displaced during the process.
"When do you want it done?" Arambula asked.
"Tomorrow," Lamond said.
"Yesterday," Foley replied at the same time.