Corbus Field gets new lights, scoreboard in time for fall season

10 August 2018

With the start of the high school football season just a week away, the clock was ticking down and both Vallejo and Jesse Bethel high schools could see the light at the end of the tunnel concerning the end of summer practices.

So with many final preparations for the season underway, Vallejo Unified School District came through and made sure that the home field for both schools would actually have a clock ticking down and lights at the end of a tunnel.

Corbus Field, without a working scoreboard for about a year and without lights since a fire occurred nearby last spring, finally got new installments for both on Wednesday, just in time for the start of Bethel’s first home game, which is Aug. 17.

According to Mitch Romero, the Chief Operations Officer at Vallejo Unified School District, the new scoreboard cost approximately $30,000, while the cost was not known at the time for the price of the new lights. While Romero said the school district knew about the need for a new scoreboard for about a year and began making plans for a replacement at that time, he also stated the district was not aware of Corbus having non-functioning lights until just a few weeks ago.

“Clearly we are pleased to find a scoreboard and lights for the stadium by the fall of 2018,” Romero said. “We had one objective and we met it.”

Vallejo High athletic director Josh Ramos said he was thrilled to get both things taken care of before the school begins play in the North Coast Section for the first time this season. Both Bethel and Vallejo have its football, soccer and track and field teams play home contests at the venue located at 840 Nebraska St.

Ramos said the school has been without a working scoreboard since last fall. Occasionally the school would use a much smaller scoreboard near the pylons of the end zone on the southern side of the field, but it wasn’t big enough for someone in the stands to see without binoculars. Many times coaches would have to ask referees how much time would be remaining in close games.

“It was kind of embarrassing,” Ramos said. “Everywhere you go everyone else had a working scoreboard and running clock, but we didn’t. So it would be a headache for both teams because they wouldn’t know how much time was left in the game. We didn’t want that when we started play in our new section. So I’m elated that the school district just said that this had to be done and made plans to replace it.”

Meanwhile, Ramos said that the lights had not been working since the spring due to a vegetation fire on March 30 that involved a palm tree and some brush on fire behind Corbus Field near the stadium structure. The fire spread to the locker room, causing minor damage and some smoke damage was reported in the sky box and neighboring rooms.

However, Ramos said the school didn’t become aware of a problem with the lights until a few months later.

“We don’t really turn on the lights a whole lot in the spring, so we didn’t really find out about the problem until prepping for graduation,” Ramos said. “Not all the lights were out, but the two poles in the middle of the field were out. A few weeks ago we were wondering if we would have to play day games or go on the road for some of our scheduled home games.”

Thankfully for both schools, PPS Electricity of Vacaville was able to help solve both the scoreboard and lighting problems. While the company installed the new scoreboard on Wednesday they also fixed the lights as well.

The new scoreboard will also represent both Vallejo and Bethel, as each school’s team colors are on it.

“We were able to make it non-school specific,” Romero said. “Out of respect to Bethel which also plays there, we captured the colors of both schools that play at the stadium. I’m glad it also represents Bill Corbus and Casper Oval.”

Ramos said the stadium will also have new signs that a spectator will see when entering the field and turning toward the press box and stands. One is for the North Coast Section, one is the city symbol for Vallejo, and the other two are for the schools of Vallejo and Bethel.

With the lightning fixed and a new scoreboard installed, both Bethel and Vallejo can focus on other things, like trying to put some points on the new scoreboard.

“It feels good, it finally feels like the new season is close to starting,” Vallejo head football coach Mike Wilson III said. “The kids saw it today and they’re really excited.”

Bethel’s first football game at Corbus Field is Aug. 17 against Kennedy, while Vallejo’s first game is at home on Aug. 24 against Fairfield. The two teams will square off in the Mayor’s Cup on Oct. 12.