A long awaited dig

BVH hosts ceremony to kick off construction for new stadium


Gabriella Bomjardin

On the old field of Bonita Visa High early morning September 14th, 2021, the school board got ready to throw the dirt on the old field. Signifiying that they were ready to start construction for the new field. From left to right; Carlos Siragusa, Dr. Roman Del Rosario, Christopher Alvarez, Dr. Adrian Arancibia, Nicholas Segura, Moises Aguirre and Janea Quirk

Bonita Vista High (BVH) Principal Roman Del Rosario, Ed.D, looked towards the audience of student athletes and coaches sitting eagerly in the fields. He spoke into the microphone with audible excitement, standing on the lumpy dirt and dying grass of the field he and the community have fought so hard to tear down and rebuild.  

“Barons, if you have older siblings or parents who’ve attended BVH, and you’ve told them about our new stadium, what did they say?”   

“Finally,” the crowd responded. 

Finally”, Del Rosario repeated back, a prideful look in his eyes followed by a sigh of relief. A renovations project that has spent more than a decade collecting dust will finally be put into action, its beginnings signified by the golden shovels of Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) Board of Trustees members digging up the first bits of the old turf.  

On September 14 at 10:30 a.m., student athletes, coaches and SUHSD Board of Trustees were invited to witness the groundbreaking ceremony commemorating the official start of construction on the highly anticipated track, field and stadium renovation project. The ceremony opened with performances by BVH’s Music Machine and Club Blue, accompanied by support from Cheer. 

Assistant Principal of Student Activities Christopher Alvarez insisted upon making the ceremony as much of a celebration as possible, citing that any less “isn’t how we do it at BVH”.  

“I wanted spirit out here. We had less than 24 hours to put this together which was amazingly fun and exciting to do. I asked myself, ‘How can I make this special?’ I wanted to make it as cool of a ceremony as possible,” Alvarez said. 

On September 14th, 2021, while the names of the board members present were being called Dr. Adrian Arancibia’s name was called. He stood up on the old field of Bonita Vista High and waved to the athletes and the clubs present during the ceremony. (Gabriella Bomjardin)

The stadium has been years in the making, however, recent plans include additions such as a synthetic field; a nine-lane track and 1300 to 1700 capacity bleachers for Home and Away audiences. Additional features include a press box, concession stands and restrooms. Those at the ceremony were all in agreement that BVH was in dire need of an upgrade. Yet challenges posed by the unexpected rise in costs due to the pandemic and the necessity to communicate with homeowners along the side of the property, along with other funding difficulties, prevented the project from being realized on schedule. 

“This campus has been asking the community for a stadium facility. It’s been some tough work in that process,” SUHSD Chief Facilities and Operations Officer Janea Quirk said. 

It was ultimately the observations made by Del Rosario and SUHSD Board of Trustees about the needs of the community that spawned action for the construction of the stadium. Gauging the situation of BVH students and looking at it from their perspective was a crucial part of decision-making. 

“It’s such a deflating feeling to go to a beautiful field; whether it be at Olympian [High], Eastlake [High], or Otay [Ranch High], and look at their brand new shiny facilities. You look at their facilities and then you look at your own and at some point you have to ask, ‘Don’t I deserve this?’” Del Rosario said. “I think it’s important for our students to really believe that they’re entitled to this. This is about the community wanting this field and, in my heart, believing that they deserve it.” 

Del Rosario’s sentiments were far from uncommon amongst the community, as SUHSD Board of Trustees member and BVH class of 1989 alumni Adrian Arancibia, Ph.D., was particularly dedicated to making sure this project is a success due to his history at BVH. Being a former student, he understood the pressing need for an upgrade. 

“We’re one of the few schools that do not have an actual stadium or a place to play. This is one of the most run-down fields and stadiums in the district, so that’s one of the reasons that we made the effort to improve the facilities here,” Arancibia said. 

The feeling of making a difference at a school he once attended also came along with the relief that this project had finally begun, creating an emotional atmosphere once the golden shovels were dug into the ground. 

On September 14th, the school board dug up a small amount of dirt and threw it on the old field of Bonita Vista High. They threw dirt using golden shovels to signify the start of the construction project. (Gabriella Bomjardim)

“How are you not gonna get emotional [when] 36 years later you’re actually able to make something [that you once used] better. Even if it was just P.E., the idea of bettering the community and the school is… priceless. It means more than I can actually tell you in words,” Arancibia said. 

Construction for a project as grand as what is planned takes several years, so current BVH seniors will be alumni once it is at full functionality. Despite this, the stadium can still be useful for the community regardless if they are a BVH student or not. The concession stands will bring revenue, a more leveled field will be safer for athletes and the stadium will bring people together. 

“The most important part is that there’s an element of community because people will be showing up here and actually creating memories here,” Arancibia said.

This ceremony created a sense of hope for the future as well. A feeling of inspiration was felt all around at the event. The construction of this stadium was seen as a catalyst for future projects at BVH and shows the possibility of change and renovations occurring. 

“I’m optimistic that this is just one step in our ongoing pursuit to renovate the whole school. We need a new performing arts center, we need a new gym, we need to renovate some of our classrooms, we need a new quad, we need a new locker room,” Del Rosario said. “I think that this is an important piece of the puzzle and I’m just very hopeful for the future of Bonita.”  

The ceremony was groundbreaking in more ways than one. The athletes, musicians, board members and administrators who attended the event left with the same feeling of hope felt by Del Rosario. After all the planning, meetings and difficult decision-making is done by administrators, this ceremony was a time for all to celebrate.

“It’s an amazing feeling that we’re finally here. In a year, we’re gonna see the fruits of that labor,” Del Rosario said.