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The Fairfax Lions football team will show its pride on a new gridiron this Friday during the first home game in their new stadium.
Finishing touches were made this week on the $6.3 million facility, and the varsity and junior varsity teams have been practicing on the field in preparation for their games Friday against Canoga Park High School. A new artificial turf playing field was installed, as was a rubberized running track, a new 2,800-seat grandstand, a press box, a public address system, restrooms and ADA-compliant elevators and ramps.
The varsity players said they can’t wait to get out on the field during a regular season game. The players had nicknamed the previous field “The Dust Bowl” because it turned to dirt after football season began each year.
“It’s going to be a huge difference,” Fairfax High senior wide receiver and strong safety Robby Floyd said. “We are going to have the home field advantage. Last year, all of the home games were away [because of the construction]. My whole family and friends are excited about coming here and having the game at this facility.”
Coach Shane Cox, who has been with Fairfax High School for the past 14 years, said the new field will help the team compete for another championship, and will instill pride in the players. The varsity team previously won the City Championship in 2010, 2004 and 1986.
“It puts us on an even playing field with all of the good programs in the city,” Cox said. “If you think about how it was over the course of the last fourteen years I have been here, it was badly needed.”
Fairfax High School assistant principal David Siedelman said the new multi-use facility will be used by the school and the public. In addition to the football teams, the stadium will host track and field competitions, and will be used by all P.E. classes. During periods when the school is not using the facility, the AYSO will hold soccer games, and pop warner leagues will offer football. The public can run on the track during non-school hours when the field is not in use, primarily between 6 and 7:30 a.m., and from 5 p.m. to sunset, Monday through Saturday, Siedelman said. The track will be closed on Sundays.
Siedelman said there will be a large crowd at the game Friday, and he is hoping the team will record its first win of the season. The varsity Lions lost 24-13 at Dorsey High on Aug. 29.
“We are expecting 2,500 fans on the home side and honorary guests who have contributed,” Siedelman said.
The new stadium was funded through a collaboration between public and private entities, such as the Los Angeles Unified School District, the AYSO and pop warner leagues, and private donors and alumni. Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, 3rd District, contributed $250,000 of county recreation facilities improvement funding. Yarsoslavsky is a graduate of the Fairfax High School Class of 1967, and added that he is excited about being at the game Friday evening.
“I spent many an afternoon running around that track. After it rained, the track hardened and it was a dangerous place to run, and the football field was a mess,” Yaroslavsky said. “The artificial turf field is better for all athletes and safer for all athletes. It’s a win-win for the community because the community will be able to use it. I jog every day in the neighborhood, and I am counting down the days until I can get on that track.”
Siedelman said the public is invited to the game Friday. The junior varsity game is scheduled at 4 p.m., followed by the varsity game at 7 p.m. Guests can enter through the gate near Fairfax Avenue and Clinton Street. For information, visit www.fairfaxhs.org.
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