[Posted September 9, 2014] A lengthy campaign to updated Uni’s ancient athletic facilities will finally reach fruition with the start of construction later this month on a new FieldTurf football field, surrounded by an eight-lane, all-weather track.
Pictured above: An archived aerial view of Uni, with Cavanagh Field in the middle, circa 2008 (before the current gymnasium was built). [Google Earth photograph]
The Facilities Division of the Los Angeles Unified School District has confirmed the project, with groundbreaking slated for late September. Completion is expected in the spring, perhaps even before the end of the 2015 spring semester.
Because of the work, Uni will play all of its football games on the road this season, as will the baseball team, which has also used the field – named Cavanagh Field after Uni’s first principal – for many years. Uni hasn’t held a home track meet in a decade or more because of the uneven cinder surface which hasn’t been touched in decades.
Although the project had been in the works for some time, it got sidelined for a while due to staff changes at the LAUSD Facilities Division office. The original program included the FieldTurf football surface – an artificial surface built to simulate real grass – and a crushed granite running track.
However, installing a granite track would continue degrading the recently-built Uni gymnasium, already suffering from dirt coming in from the existing track. A lobbying effort by Uni principal Eric Davidson and a dedicated effort from Wendy Axel, parent of a Uni student and track athlete, eventually led to agreement on the installation of an all-weather track surface.
More than simply revamping the field, significant grading will need to be done to accommodate the switch from the original six-lane, 440-yard cinder track to a modern, eight-lane 400 m oval.
All of this will be taking place at the same time as the construction of the Collins & Katz Family YMCA, now in excavation phase at the corner of Westgate and Ohio Avenues.
A one-sheet summary of this and other recent construction on the campus, from the LAUSD Facilities Division, is available here.