VALLEY GLEN – Los Angeles Valley College student athletes Tuesday celebrated the newly renovated Monarch Stadium by running across the springy, artificial turf field and sprinting on the track. The $4 million project, toasted with a dedication ceremony and tailgate party Tuesday, was funded with Valley’s share of the district’s $2.2 billion Proposition A/AA construction bond money. It includes a Sprinturf football and soccer field and a natural rubber track by Mondo, a company that has supplied track surfaces for seven Summer Olympics. Valley’s is believed to be the only 10-lane Mondo track in California. “This is world-class stuff,” said Mitch Vaccari, project director for URS Corp., which is handling LAVC’s projects. “Not even UCLA or USC has (a track like) this one.” Valley’s athletic director, Chuck Ferrero said the new facilities will not cut maintenance costs for the college but will prevent athletic injuries and aid in recruiting. “It is so important that we have facilities that send a message to our students that we respect them, respect their potential, and that we want to give them every opportunity to succeed,” Waxman said. Los Angeles City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel noted that with childhood obesity rates on the rise, quality athletic facilities and programs are more important than ever. The renovations also included repainting the stadium and installing a natural-turf football practice field with a decomposed granite public walking track around it. The college also will be getting new visitors’ bleachers, restrooms and concession stand later this fall. But plans to construct a new fieldhouse are on hold for now, as rising construction costs have forced Valley and the other eight community colleges to scale back their plans. Ferrero said upgrading the 48-year-old field was quite a challenge. There were no original, “as built” plans to guide officials, and just the rumbling of the heavy equipment used in construction caused some ancient water lines to rupture. Other guests included actor Ed Begley Jr., who attended Valley in the late 1960s; LACCD Chancellor Darroch “Rocky” Young; and Board of Trustees members Georgia Mercer and Nancy Pearlman, herself a marathon runner, who ran part of a relay on the new track. Tuesday’s ceremony also was attended by several past LAVC athletes, including Bobby Castillo, a 1974 pitcher at LAVC who went on to play for the Dodgers from 1977 to 1981, and Ed Papazian, a member of the founding class of 1949 who ran the very first touchdown without a leather helmet. [email protected] (818) 713-3663160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2“Our track team has run for 16 years on a dirt track – we could only get distance runners,” Ferrero said. “Now we can bring in speed (sprinters.)” Valley football player Christ Vokos, 20, of Studio City said the new field will allow for faster play, and launch “a new spirit at Valley.” “I love it,” he said. “There’s more bounce on this field. Grass absorbs, and this kind of pushes back.” Valley football coach Jimmy Sims said he was so thrilled with the new field, he’s having a Web site designed to promote it, and is already getting calls from other teams that want to play on it. At the dedication ceremony Tuesday, Los Angeles Community College District Trustee Michael Waxman said he was pleased to see yet another Proposition A/AA-funded project completed.