The venue on the west side of the Tracy High School campus will still be known as Wayne Schneider Stadium, after the longtime Bulldogs coach who led the team to Sac-Joaquin Section championships in 1982 and 1987. And the Bulldogs will still play on Peter B. Kyne Field, named for one of the early supporters of Tracy High athletics.
But the rest will be new, including artificial turf, a nine-lane synthetic track and capacity for 4,000 fans in the aluminum bleachers. There will also be a new press box and announcer’s booth at the top of the home-side bleachers along East Street.
Schneider, who coached the team for 29 years and retired in 1994, plans to attend games at the new stadium. He’s glad to see the old one give way to a modern venue.
“There are great memories, but I’m really happy they’re going to tear it down and put in a modern stadium like West and Kimball,” he said. “Just like they’ve updated the buildings that were old and falling apart, the stadium was the same way.”
The snack bar, a building at the southwest corner of the stadium, is one feature that won’t change. Tracy Unified School District Facilities Director Bonny Carter said demolition crews won’t touch that building.
That’s where Schneider and his fellow Tracy Breakfast Lions will continue to serve barbecued tri-tip sandwiches and hamburgers at home games.
Casey Goodall, Tracy Unified assistant superintendent for business, said the overall cost of the project is $8.8 million, which includes the new stadium and relocation of 12 portable classroom buildings that must move, as the footprint of the stadium shifts 20 feet to the east.
He figures it will be a 13-month project, which creates a tight deadline before the 2013 football season starts.
For the 2012 season, the Bulldogs will play at West High’s Steve Lopez Stadium, a reversal of the arrangement before West High’s football field was completed in 2008.
Tracy High’s soccer teams will also move to West High for the 2012-13 fall and spring seasons.
Tracy High boys soccer coach Phil Kalis said that his team will play on West’s grass fields on the east side of the campus this fall. The Bulldog soccer team will have its practices at Central School on West Eaton Avenue.
Meanwhile, Goodall said the district’s goal for the 2012-13 school year is to have enough room on Tracy High’s existing soccer field to allow for physical education classes.
Gary Henderson, Tracy High athletic director, said that’s also where the football teams, including varsity, sophomores and freshmen, will practice, as long as construction doesn’t squeeze them out. He has already arranged to move the football practices to Poet Christian School on Central Avenue if it turns out that Tracy High doesn’t have enough room.
When the work is done, the biggest change will be the absence of the varsity baseball field, as the new stadium will cut into the present diamond.
The Bulldog baseball teams will share the fields at West and Kimball high schools in the spring 2013 season, and by spring 2014 their new home fields will be at Monte Vista Middle School.
The removal of the baseball field and portables will benefit the soccer teams, which will have extra room for practice.
Kalis said that while his team would have access to the new stadium, he expects to use the grass field — he and his players prefer the natural turf.
“Luckily, we have Antonio (By Goytia , Tracy Unified’s groundskeeper). He does such a great job,” Kalis said. “We prefer to play on grass whenever possible.”
91 years of Bulldog football
1921 — Tracy High fields its first football team, which plays several games on a dirt field for only one year.
1925 — After a three-year hiatus, football returns to Tracy High when a gymnasium and locker rooms are constructed.
1927 — The Tracy High football team is adopted by members of the Bohemian Club. Bleachers are constructed, and volunteers build a fence around the field, which is named Peter B. Kyne Field for a San Francisco author.
1936 — The field is reconstructed and enlarged with new turf, a running track and lights mounted on eight wooden poles. The first night game is played against Modesto High. Modesto wins, 30-0.
1948 — Home-side bleachers are replaced by larger wooden bleachers reconstructed from a wartime U.S. Navy Fleet City football field near Pleasanton.
1972 — Voters reject a bond issue and special tax to rebuild Peter B. Kyne Field.
1979 — Routine inspection of home-side bleachers determines that the aging, crumbling wooden structure is a fire hazard, and it is condemned. Temporary bleachers are put into use.
1980 (photos of new bleachers being built, and Gretchen Talley and Wayne Schneider) — A Save Our Stadium citizens committee raises close to $100,000 to build — partially with volunteer labor — home-side steel and aluminum bleachers and install new lights. Tracy High district augments the private funding to complete the project.
1993 — A press box on the visitors’ side of the field, constructed in 1991 by volunteers, is rebuilt 16 months after being gutted by fire.
1997 — New natural turf is installed on a field leveled and prepared by citizen volunteers, who raised funds for the project.
2006 — Measure E, a $51 million bond issue, is approved by voters, with funds — augmented by state bond money — to rebuild Tracy High School, including contingency funding for new football stadium.
2008 — The stadium is named for Wayne Schneider in honor of the longtime coach who led Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship teams in 1982 and 1987.
2011 — The final Tracy High football game is played Nov. 4 on the field. Tracy defeats Franklin, 48-41.
2012 — After use of the stadium for graduation ceremonies and Fourth of July fireworks, demolition begins to make way for a new stadium with new home-side stands, lights, artificial turf and an eight-lane track.