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St. Francis to begin stadium construction in September

WATSONVILLE — St. Francis High will undergo construction to install a synthetic turf field and new multi-use stadium beginning in September, the school announced Friday at its annual fundraiser golf tournament.

The stadium, which will include bleacher seating for 400 spectators on one sideline, is the first phase of the $2.5 million project. The second phase is the addition of the Samuel and Terese Administration/Counseling Building.

The field will be used to host football, soccer and lacrosse events, as well as graduation, arts events and the Battle for the Paddle community-building event. It’s also a shared resource with neighboring parochial schools, including Salesian Sisters and Moreland Notre Dame.

“We’re really excited to get started on this,” said St. Francis’ Ed Kelly Jr., head of the capital campaign committee. “It’s been a while in the works and planning. To actually break ground next month will be a big step for the school.”

St. Francis and Scotts Valley are the only high schools of the 10 in Santa Cruz County with football programs that currently have grass fields. Pajaro Valley and Monte Vista Christian highs, both located in Watsonville, added synthetic turf fields last year.

With construction expected to last six months, the Sharks will play its home football games off campus this season. They’ll play Saturday home games at either Watsonville High, Cabrillo College or Santa Cruz High.

The Sharks have already raised more than $1.8 million for the project, including $4,500 at its golf tournament after donations were matched up to $1,000 by Liberty Mutual and KBK Insurance.

The stadium is being wired for lights and St. Francis will apply for a permit with the Department of Transportation in hopes of making night games a reality.

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