Valley College to renovate athletic facilitites

The Baseball and Softball Fields, Monarch Stadium and Grass Soccer and Football Field are receiving upgrades.

By Benjamin Royer, Sports Editor

Monarch Stadium’s three-year switchgear project was fixed in the fall term. (Griffin O'Rourke / The Valley Star)

Valley College sports programs and stadiums are set to receive facility upgrades for the 2022-23 athletic calendar.

Following the completion of the Spring sports catalog, Athletic Director Dave Mallas tells The Star that construction is intended to facilitate “much needed” improvements for Valley’s athletic programs. Overhead lights will be implemented at the Baseball and Softball Fields – bringing the possibility of night games to the Spring 2023 season – and the Grass Soccer and Football Field, which is directly next to Lot F Parking, will be renovated to improve playing conditions for the fall. Women’s soccer practices and plays on that surface, while football occasionally uses the area for practice. The short offseason between spring and fall sports gives Valley the opportunity to break ground on both projects.

The Baseball and Softball fields will have the lights on for evening games in 2023 after overhead lights were impemented at the complex. (Griffin O'Rourke / The Valley Star)

“That will be a big upgrade for our athletics program,” said Mallas. “They are hoping to start that (soon).... If it goes through, there is going to be a bond that is supposed to be on the ballot come November, so if that happens, we are hoping to do some more stuff in the future.”

A budget surplus provided to Valley and its athletic department would allow the college to further improve the South Gym – the home of men’s and women’s basketball – and consider larger and more dramatic proposals that are not currently up for discussion.

Mallas considers fixing the stands of South Gym a high priority. Currently, the seating arrangements are not ADA compliant, which could create issues for fans with disabilities who visit the arena.

“Los Angeles Valley College will make all reasonable modifications to policies and programs to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to enjoy all College programs, services and activities,” the ADA Compliance section of Valley’s website states.

However, the athletic department recently received notice that the bleachers would not be getting a renovation to adhere to the ADA, and would have to push the project into future plans instead.

Regarding Monarch Stadium, Mallas sees adjustments as a quality of life change that could help both the school, its students and its tenants. “We are also trying to upgrade the scoreboard and sound system at the football field,” said Mallas. “Our sound system has been in dire need of being upgraded for football and women’s soccer games, as well as for our graduation that happens every June.”

The Grass Soccer and Football Field is to be improved in the near future. (Adrian Ramirez / The Valley Star)

High school football programs across the San Fernando Valley are able to use the stadium as Valley sublets the property to their home games and practices. The sound system is defective and has forced Mallas to rent similar devices to replace the lack of noise. Overheating during summer and early fall events – some of which for high school sports – rendered the scoreboard to be less useful, having to shut it off as a precaution to attendees because of a possible fire or smoking hazard.

Monarch Stadium recently underwent construction, which was recently completed during the spring semester. A switchgear replacement was set to be finished in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the project to be finished two years later. The project overhauls the electrical room in Monarch Stadium, mainly because the previous switchgear was “quite old and barely functions,” according to the construction notice. Additionally, the structure that held the switchgear carried an electrocution risk during inadequate weather because the wood on which the structure was built disintegrated.

Mallas said that some of the projects have been in development since 2000, spanning the tenures of multiple presidents and athletic directors before him.

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