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Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : Stadium to Reopen by Month's End : Earthquake: Cracked stairwell is the only damage left to be repaired at the College of the Canyons facility.


SANTA CLARITA — College of the Canyons authorities are hoping their earthquake-damaged stadium will be repaired by the end of the month, just days before a tri-state high school band competition.

Cougar Stadium sustained more than $600,000 damage, said college President Dianne Van Hook. Repairs have taken longer than expected, she said, because of soil settling under the stadium.

The stadium is normally used by local high school football teams and for special events such as the band competition.

The delays have frayed tempers among high school officials, whom Van Hook tried to calm at a meeting Thursday morning. She said the college has experienced the same problems getting emergency funding and approval for other projects throughout the area.

"I know many of you, especially the football coaches, are disappointed the stadium was not fixed sooner," she said. "But we have done everything possible to get the repairs done."

College officials previously predicted that the 7,500-seat stadium would be open by mid-October, in time for football games that usually draw high attendance.

The band competition, called Rampage, is set for Nov. 5 and will involve schools from California, Nevada and Arizona.

Bob Endress, representing the William S. Hart High School band for the event, said the 2,500 participants and any spectators would have to squeeze into the 3,320-seat stadium at Canyon High School in Canyon Country if the college stadium is unavailable. But the biggest problem with the high school stadium, he said, is that the parking lot at Canyon High is not big enough for all the student buses.

Bringing the students in by shuttle buses would be difficult.

"They use the buses as dressing rooms, so it has to be right there," Endress said.

Everything has been repaired except a cracked stairwell leading to the home side of the bleachers, and that should be done by the end of the month unless aftershocks or bad weather interfere, Van Hook said.

Some alternative plans, such as using a temporary entrance or using only the visitor's bleachers, were proposed Thursday.

"We're looking to do anything to get the facility ready," said Andy Iacenda, whose son plays tailback for Hart High School.

But a temporary entrance would not meet Fire Department regulations requiring the crowd to be able to exit quickly during an emergency, said Jorge Perez, director of facilities, planning and services for the college.

Van Hook said the college may consider allowing the 1,482 seats on the visitor's side of the stadium to be used. Endress said the bands in his event rotate through the stadium during the day, so seating would not be a problem.

But college officials noted that the press box, where the judges normally sit, and the restrooms are on the home side of the bleachers.

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