By Nick Sestanovich
The renovation of Benicia High School’s George Drolette Stadium has just a little more work to be done before it can be opened for use, according to an update provided by Measure S Bond Director Roxanne Egan on the voter-approved initiative at Thursday’s school board meeting.In 2014, Benicia residents voted to approve a ballot initiative that would provide $49.6 million in bond funding for improvements at each of the Benicia Unified School District’s seven schools. One of the largest projects to be funded was a remodel of Benicia High’s football and soccer stadium and track & field, including such changes as a new 8-lane all-weather track, upgraded lighting and new bleachers.
The previous stadium had been demolished in July 2016, and a groundbreaking ceremony for the new facilities was held one month later. Construction was expected to be completed in the spring, but several delays in construction— including one of the wettest winter seasons in a long time— pushed its potential opening back to the fall. A grand opening ceremony was slated for August, but Egan said more work remains to be done.Further work includes completing painting on the team room buildings— including blue striping and yellow trim, painting a Benicia Panthers logo on the backside of the press box, custom painting the restroom building and applying stucco to the concession building.However, Egan noted that a lot of work has been done in the last couple of months, including applying stucco to the restroom building, adding color to the press box and adding lettering to the track. Egan said the last item was a good symbolic representation for the current stage of the project.