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NORTHRIDGE ATHLETICS: The Cutbacks

Stadium Receives $50,000 Pledge

Baseball: Kings president Leiweke makes offer for facility, which is seen as 'field of dreams.'

June 12, 1997|STEVE HENSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

UNIVERSAL CITY — Even on the day Cal State Northridge eliminated four men's sports, Steve Soboroff made progress on a stadium to be built on the university campus.

At a breakfast meeting of the Valley Development Forum at the Universal Sheraton on Wednesday, Tim Leiweke, president of the Kings, pledged $50,000 toward the project from the Kings Care Foundation.

Leiweke is working closely with Soboroff on developing a $200 million downtown arena. So after Soboroff explained his plans for a $1.5 million multiuse stadium to be built on the present baseball or softball field at Northridge, Leiweke made his pledge.

Later in the day, aerial photos of the baseball and softball fields at Northridge were taken.

"There is no question that this has hit a vein for people," Soboroff said. "Completion is imminent. The idea that ownership of the Lakers and Kings are backing this thing shows the passion and importance of it."

Besides the Kings' donation, the J. Byer Group offered to donate geo-technical studies and Soboroff is involving NBBJ, the architectural firm that is designing the downtown arena and the San Francisco 49ers' new stadium.

"We are happy to get involved in community projects like this," said Mike Hallmark, an NBBJ partner. "We can be generous with our time. I'll meet with Steve soon."

The stadium has been scaled back from its original $3 million price tag because Northridge dropped baseball, but Soboroff and Northridge President Blenda Wilson agree that a need remains.

"There are different field requirements for Little League, collegiate softball and PONY league, but greater architectural challenges have been met," Soboroff said. "We are talking about a field of dreams, something really special."

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