California School for the Deaf, Riverside, could get new sports complex after inspiring football season – San Bernardino Sun

After its football team’s historic, headline-making season, the California School for the Deaf, Riverside, may be getting upgraded athletic facilities.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s revised 2022-23 budget proposal, released Friday, May 13, includes an estimated $43.1 million to build a new athletics complex on campus.

If approved by the state legislature, the project would replace the school’s aging sports fields for football, track, softball and baseball, and add a stand-alone practice soccer field, according to the proposal. The existing fields date to the school’s opening in the 1950s, officials said.

The proposal includes an estimated $2.5 million for an athletics complex project study and preliminary plans, working drawings and construction costs.

Newsom said in a statement that he was proud to support the California School for the Deaf, Riverside, Cubs.

“The Cubs captivated the entire nation with their history-making football season last fall. They uplifted the Riverside community game after game,” Newsom said in the statement. “The Cubs are California legends, through and through, and we’re going to lift them up, just as they lifted us up with their inspiring journey.”

The football team made national headlines in fall, after a historic season led the squad to the CIF Southern Section championship for the first time. The team appeared in a December episode of “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” where it received $25,000 toward field improvements. And, in February, players were invited to witness the coin toss at Super Bowl LVI.

“We were using portable gas lights, and the smell was noxious for the players,” Christian Jimenez, then a junior and the team captain, told Clarkson. The Cub’s home field “has only about 50 seats, and the away side only has about 25 seats. The field is really small and not so great.”

Superintendent Nancy Hlibok Amann said in December that the football field, with poor lighting and portable bleachers, is “original, the same we’ve had since 1953.”

“It’s an old, old field that had not been renovated for some time,” Amann said. “We have a long master list (of needs) over the past 20 years.”

In a Friday statement, state Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, called funding for the athletics complex “critical,” and said he was “profoundly moved” by the Cubs’ resilience. He shared their story with fellow state Sen. John Laird, D-Santa Cruz, chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Education, and the governor’s office.

“These deaf student athletes were not hindered by their Deafhood as some may expect,” Roth said, “rather, it was their greatest asset in bulldozing their opponents and being victorious throughout the season. I then found out the conditions of the field they were playing on and I knew they deserved better.”

A project study would begin in July, with work on preliminary plans set to begin in 2023, officials said. Construction would start in January 2025, with the project to be completed by May 2026.

If approved as part of the state budget, Newsom would have until June 30 to sign off on the project.

Amann expressed gratitude in a Facebook post Friday.

“You are reading this right. This is for real! We are getting a brand new athletic complex in a few years!”

Ricardo Terrazas, a junior lineman and wide receiver for the Cubs’ football team, said in a statement that he was “in complete shock” when he heard the news.

“I’m very thankful,” said Terrazas, 17. “I love the governor!”

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