Looking to continue its historic traditions well into the 21st century, Mt. San Antonio College plans to renovate its 65-year-old stadium and place a bid to host the 2020 Olympic Track and Field Trials.
“For nearly seven decades, this historic track and stadium has attracted world-class athletes who’ve set world records,” said Mt. SAC Relays & Special Events Director Doug Todd at an international press conference on Dec. 2. “The stadium has served us and the world community well, and now it’s time to totally renovate it to continue offering the best in track and field for years to come.”
“Project 2020” will transform Hilmer Lodge Stadium into a state-of-the-art track and field/cross country/football facility, including the installation of a nine-lane International Association of Athletics Federations-compliant synthetic track with a natural turf infield.
The new stadium will feature new bleachers for 11,000 spectators, a field house with locker rooms, two weight rooms, two lecture halls and a high-tech press box that can accommodate the digital global media.
“Constructing a wider and faster track will bring more top-level athletes and greatly enhance our chances of winning the bid for the Olympic Trials in 2020,” said Todd. “With a new state-of-the-art facility, large seating capacity, perfect Southern California weather conditions, and local amenities to accommodate every need for vast crowds, Mt. SAC stands an excellent chance of winning the bid.”
Todd also noted the economic multiplier effect on the region by attracting the Olympic Trials and other major events to the new venue. Nearby cities and all of Southern California would greatly benefit from the patronage and tourist spending typically associated with large-scale events.
Stadium construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2015 and be completed in early spring or summer of 2017, in plenty of time for the Olympic Trials in 2020. The renovation will be underwritten with Measure RR construction bond funds, as the stadium upgrade is included in Mt. SAC’s campus improvement master plan.
Named for Mt. SAC’s legendary first track coach, Hilmer Lodge Stadium is home to the world’s largest track and field invitational (Mt. SAC Relays) and the world’s largest cross country invitational, which attracts over 20,000 participants annually. In addition, Mt. SAC hosts the LA84 Foundation Youth Days, CIF Championships and Footlocker West Regional Cross Country Championships. The upgrade would allow Mt. SAC to host additional national events, Todd said.
Dedicated in 1948, the stadium has been the site of two Olympic trials, 20 world records in track and field, football championships, commercials, movies, graduations and the “greatest day in track and field,” when six world records were broken or tied in one evening.