Stadium effort kicks
off with fund-raising
By Jesse Phelps
Those in attendance at any recent
Nordhoff football game have had the opportunity to see a brand-new
car paraded down the track at halftime. The sleek little automobile
is being raffled off to help benefit construction on new facilities
at Ojai Valley Community Stadium.
The car, donated at cost by Mark Johnston at Ojai Ford, is a
fully-loaded blue 2003 Ford Escort ZX2 two-door coupe, which
retails for over $16,000. It comes with an automatic transmission,
power windows and doors, cruise control and, most importantly,
for those hot Ojai summers, air conditioning.
The dealership also bought the first 30 raffle tickets and donated
them back to the cause for special promotions.
The tickets, which sell for $25 each, benefit a community effort
to revamp Nordhoff's athletic facilities and replenish the adjacent
Ojai Meadows Preserve, now under the care of the Ojai Valley
Land Conservancy. The construction will ensure that proper drainage
occurs on all Nordhoff athletic fields, diverting the water to
Interested parties can purchase tickets at a host of local events
and outlets including athletic competitions at Nordhoff, any
public school in the valley, The Attitude Adjustment Shoppe,
Ojai Sports and the school district office.
The $2.15 million project includes improvements to the press
box and announcer's booth, a new all-weather track, made from
recycled tires, and additions to the stadium grandstands.
The improvements will not only increase the seating capacity
but will also provide handicapped access on both the home and
away sidelines, said Matilija Jr. High teacher, fund-raising
specialist and wetlands-project coordinator Mike Krumpschmidt.
Seating, he said will expand from 2,000 to 2,500 on the home
side, with better spacing and more leg room. Removal of the temporary
visitors' bleachers will allow the construction of 1000 permanent
Because of the nature of the grant, Nordhoff will see only $1
million of the total, with the rest earmarked for the Land Conservancy.
The total cost of the project is $1.5 million, plus another $600,000
for a hoped-for replacement of the grass football field with
Krumpschmidt said he's wanted to improve the facilities forever
but it took a brainstorm three years ago to get it done. By integrating
the wetlands into things, he gained access to a grant available
through the Department of Water Resources.
He now stands as the liaison at the center of a huge project
which includes Caltrans, the city of Ojai, county fire officials
and the department of Fish and Game.
As background, all of the land encompassing the Ojai Meadows,
the Nordhoff grounds and the doctors' offices across the street,
said Krumpschmidt, was once a flood plane, featuring "seasonal,
The building of the campus necessitated the taking of much earth
from the surrounding parcels, he said, "robbing the meadow
of its top soils and making the campus a bog that now can't drain
the way it used to. After just an inch of rain, a large part
of the campus goes under water. The stadium, in fact, fills up,
becoming a doughnut-shaped pool, rendering it useless. The practice
fields get so bogged that you can't use them for a long period
Rick Vogel's son Marty plays football for the Nordhoff varsity.
Vogel is an unofficial member of the coaching staff, charting
plays, keeping statistics and prowling the sideline at every
He says the safety issues are a concern and that several games
have been rescheduled or played in less-than-desirable conditions
due to flooding. "We had to reschedule a game with Oaks
Christian. We had no access to the field," said Vogel. "There's
always issue in terms of standing water on the field. In this
year's game with Santa Paula, we had a foot of water. To play
on a better field or an all-weather track, that would be great."
Nordhoff football coach Cliff Farrar said the stadium renovation
will benefit not just his team, but the entire community. And
he's rooting for the artificial turf. "If we can get the
turf, then we'll have a 24-7 facility," said Farrar. "And
that means many more people can use it."
Krumpschmidt said that the improvements will make events like
CIF playoff games, Ojai's Independence Day celebration and graduation
far more comfortable. And because football games subsidize other
sports, the new capacity, said Krumpschmidt, will create a monetary
He hopes to raise $30,000 of the remaining half-million needed
to fund the grandstand upgrades from the sale of 2000 raffle
tickets. Krumpschmidt said that in a similar raffle at Buena
High in Ventura, a Harley-Davidson was auctioned off at $100
per ticket but that he wanted to make the tickets more accessible
and the prize more useful to more people.
The drawing of the winner will take place at Nordhoff's Spring
Showcase on May 25.
Krumpschmidt said he's also courting larger donations and offering
naming rights on various parts of the facilities, from the field
itself to a goal post or a bleacher seat. "If we do really
well on that, we'd like to install the turf," he said.
The project comes on the heels of the $6.2 million renovation
of Nordhoff music, science and administrative facilities. A proposed
theater complex is also in the works for the campus. It all adds
up to a lot of work and a lot of money, but Krumpschmidt said
the end result will be worth the effort.
"Then the entire school," he said, "will be what
it ought to be. And we'll have a state-of-the-art stadium, just
like when it was first built."
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