San Benito County residents of all ages came together Aug. 24 to celebrate the grand opening of the new athletic facilities at San Benito High School which include a new football stadium and aquatics center.
The new athletics and P.E. complex was funded by Measure U, a 2016 voter-approved school bond. The current cost of construction totals $38.9 million. SBHS communications officer Adam Breen said the state will reimburse part of that cost.
With an estimated 2,000 to 2,500 people in attendance, the event drew alumni dating back to the class of 1955. One notable Baler alum at the event was State Assemblyman Robert Rivas from the class of 1998.
Rivas addressed the crowd and spoke of the “profound effect” the school had on his and his family’s lives, and called the school a place of opportunity for students of all backgrounds. The school has produced some of the finest athletes, students, and leaders, Rivas said.
One such student athlete is varsity football player Trevor Cordova. Currently a senior, Cordova spoke about his team’s excitement over being the first to use the new facilities.
“It’s once in a lifetime you get to play in a new stadium in front of alumni,” Cordova said.
Cordova’s mother Michelle said she hoped having new facilities would encourage more youth sports in the community.
“I’m proud to be a Baler mom,” she said. “I didn’t grow up here, but I feel the Baler pride.”
Alex Alvarez, a 2017 graduate who attended the event with his family, enjoyed touring the new facilities and said he believes they will help students have more ownership and pride for athletics on campus.
That pride was seen throughout the celebration. Student athletes wore Baler gear and lined the football field during the opening remarks. Band and color guard members performed marches across the field as students smiled and cheered each other on.
As Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum observed, “It’s a great day to be a Baler.”