The Shafter Press - Serving the community since 1922

New stadium for Generals

$7M overhaul to expand, improve facility


September 5, 2019 | View PDF

Courtesy Shafter High School

A digital depiction of what the new stadium will look like.

The Shafter Generals will be calling a new stadium home starting in the fall of 2021 as a result of a $7 million rebuild of their current stadium site.

Principal Russell Shipley said that the dream began when he was appointed principal of Shafter High. There were talks of a new stadium with new bleachers, press box and concession stand. This dream grew into the state-of-the-art stadium to be completed for the 2021 season.

The project will include new bleachers on the home and visitor sides of the stadium, a new ticket booth, an additional concession stand, a state-of-the-art press box, an all-weather track with nine lanes, a new scoreboard and a brand-new sodded field.

The project is made possible by a bond measure that was passed by voters in November 2016. Shipley said the original plan was to give the school a replacement stadium along the lines of the normal stadium plans. But Shipley's vision was different.

"I told the district that we really wanted to have a stadium that would be unique to Shafter. We wanted something special that would set us apart from the rest, and I think that we got it."

If the timeline remains as it is right now, the demolition will begin in the fall of 2020. "It will start about this time next year," said Shipley. "It is about a one-year process from demolition to completion.

"There were several options when the issue was originally discussed, including building a stadium on the land that is now used by the Agriculture Department. There was talk of building the stadium and the track separately in different locations, but this plan will be more beneficial for everyone," he added.

The nine-lane, all-weather track will enable Shafter to host sanctioned events, such as championship-caliber meets.

It has not yet been decided where the scoreboard will be located. Some people believe it should remain on the north end of the stadium, which enables people driving by to glimpse the score, while some think the board should be moved to the south end, making it necessary to attend the game in order to see the score. There are hopes to upgrade the scoreboard, too.

"Coach [Jerald] Pierucci will be doing some fundraising to get a video scoreboard, enabling it to do instant replays and show video on it," Shipley said.

The additional concession stand will be on the northern end of the stadium, next to the new ticket booth. The current ticket booth is on the south end of the site, but with the addition of the nine-lane track, it will be necessary to move the ticket booth to the southwest. "Right at the entrance, there will be a ticket booth with visitor and home windows. There will also be the additional concession stand to the left of it, with new restrooms in back of the stand."

There will be more seating in the new stadium. Currently, the seating capacity is around 1,600 on the home side and 750 on the visitor side. "The new stadium will have seating for 2,269 on the home side, and the visitor side will have 1,410," said Shipley.

There are still issues to resolve regarding alternative venues during the construction for the events that the stadium normally hosts. In addition to football, the stadium is also the site for the soccer team and track team. "If the schedule goes according to plan, Shafter will have to find a stadium to play the last couple of games in the 2020 season. We have Wasco there in 2020, which is good, leaving us the challenge of finding a venue for the couple of remaining games that are on the schedule for the 2020 season."

Shipley said that he will also be contacting the Chamber of Commerce regarding the annual 3rd of July Fireworks Show. He doesn't think the July 2021 show will be able to take place at Shafter High – or the graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2021, either "We don't know yet what will be able to take place at the stadium at that point in the construction. We will have to look into maybe going with a different venue, such as Rabobank Arena or another location. We would, of course, supply transportation for students and parents for wherever we end up holding the event."


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