Athletes at the California School for the Deaf, Riverside can look forward to practices and home games played on revamped outdoor fields — football, track, softball and baseball, plus one just for soccer practice – as part of $43.1 million in funding set aside by Governor Gavin Newsom in the latest iteration of the state’s 2022-2023 budget. If approved, the school’s lackluster fields and stands would make way for artificial turf, bleachers to seat up to 800 fans, new lighting and other amenities. The plan currently calls for work to be completed sometime in 2026.
CSDR’s football teams have for decades endured practices on a languishing grass football field, replete with holes and bare dirt, and their dedicated fans have toughed out games with the same inadequate seating and poor lighting since the school’s founding in 1953. The Cubs, who made it to the semi-finals in its CIF Southern Section 2 8-man team division for the first time in its nearly 69-year history, drew national attention for its inspiring 12-0 record before losing the final to Canoga Park’s Faith Baptist High School.
Those familiar with the state budget process say the fact that the CSDR funding is still included in the May revision of the budget – one of the final steps on its journey to a vote by the state legislature in mid-June – is cause for optimism. Still, it’s never wise to count your proverbial chickens.
“It’s in the budget, and we want to keep it there,” said Cindy Roth, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce. “Nothing’s set till the ink’s dry.” Roth encourages members of the public to show their support of the budget — and CSDR’s new athletic fields — by contacting Governor Newsom’s office on the state’s website.