And that's good news for Point Loma High School’s softball team, which will now call the complex home. The field will be dedicated at 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 15 when the 2020 teams are introduced and a second alumni game takes place.
Also on hand will be the Peckham family who donated the previous on-campus softball field as well as people who played a role in the vision and construction of the new field.
"The girls are super-excited to begin playing on it," said head softball coach Billy Hunyady. "It's a gorgeous, beautiful facility and it's got all the bells and whistles including an announcer's booth, P.A. system, restrooms, and the lights – we believe Helix and Point Loma have the only lighted high school fields in San Diego."
At the Feb. 15 opening, Hunyady said the team's Eastern League co-champion banner from 2019 will be unveiled, believed to be the Pointers' first softball league title in school history.
The alumni game will follow, purposely timed to play under the new LED lights. Hunyady expects as many as 20 alums to play ranging from recent graduates to some who graduated nearly 20 years ago.
The complex was constructed at a cost of "more than $10 million" of Prop. Z and state funds according to the San Diego Unified School District website. The project transforms a previously under-used and gopher-ridden space of 363,000 square feet into a first-class athletic facility that should be one of the Peninsula's public gems.
The field also features above-ground dugouts with storage that will be locked plus extensive landscaping.
Featured in the landscaping is a raised area behind home plate that displays 10 new trees and extensive ground cover that will someday be stunning if not disturbed by fans. Concrete walkways allow fans to access all areas of the field and restrooms.
The remaining complex features four artificially turfed multi-use fields, marked for several sports that should provide years of use with minimal maintenance.
The school's basketball/tennis courts were reconstructed and a new building beyond the softball field's left-field features a new building with concessions, restrooms, and equipment storage.
All of the complex is equipped with LED night lighting, extending the hours it can be used and enjoyed by the community.
But there are also some problems to be ironed out.
Community input called for the entire complex to be artificially turfed, something the school district also preferred. With these criteria, a district spokesperson told a community meeting in 2011 the total cost would be $9 million.
But somewhere along the line, the girls' softball field was changed to natural grass. Many fear the return of gophers whose holes in the playing surface could wind up causing serious injury to players.
Also, the outfield fence posts were installed 250 feet from home plate, farther than used in prep softball. Typical distance is 200 feet, perhaps slightly more in center field. The impressive permanent foul poles are also far beyond where they should be.
The species of grass selected for the field is a dormant variety that currently is not green. And Pointer officials were disappointed to see the new scoreboard and bleachers bear the colors of Correia Middle School and not the maroon and gold of PLHS.
Additionally, Hunyady said his staff has been told they must erect and dismantle over 300 feet of outfield fence before and after each game. Working with his assistant coaches, just putting up the fence took over two hours.
Future meetings are scheduled to hopefully resolve this and other issues. Despite these issues, "We're super excited!" Hunyady said.
It's time to "Play ball!" at the new Correia Sports Complex.