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For the love of Memorial Field

Group is hoping the community will step up and help raise the extra $1 million neened to rebuild local sports venues.

January 12, 2008|By Jeff Tully

BURROUGHS HIGH — Jay Gudzin remembers when Burroughs High’s Memorial Field was a showplace for athletics.

As a football player for the Indians, Gudzin was proud to play in a facility that not only had a rich history, but was an impressive venue.

“When I left Burroughs in 1973, Memorial Field was still in great shape,” Gudzin said. “It had nice paint and nothing was falling apart. It was still a very nice stadium.

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“But nothing has been done to the place since the 1950s. And now it’s in bad shape.”

Michael Hastings has also seen the facility’s decay over the years. A longtime resident and former Burbank mayor, Hastings also knows the value Memorial Field has in the community.

“Many people in the community have played on that field, run on that track or sat in those stands,” he said. “Memorial Field is very important to our community.”

From his time as an athlete at the school, to being a teacher, to becoming the head football coach to his current position as vice principal of activities and athletics, Gudzin has seen many changes at Burroughs the past nearly 40 years.

Unfortunately, little has changed with Memorial Field during that span.

That, however, is about to change. Gudzin and Hastings are doing their part to help a cause important to both of them — as well as many in the community.

Plans are moving forward to renovate the field, along with facilities at Burbank High. Renovations will include a new stadium, complete with a field turf playing surface, new storage facilities and an all-weather running track.

The Burbank Unified School District and the city of Burbank have come together to provide almost $14.2 million for improvements, not only to Burroughs, but to Burbank, which will also have field turf and an all-weather track installed.

Combined funding of an estimated $2.5 million from the district and $9.65 million from the city falls short of the covering the cost of the projects.

That’s where Hastings and Gudzin — along with concerned individuals from the community, like Burroughs co-Athletic Director Marty Garrison — come in. Hastings is chairman for the campaign “Celebrate Gratitude,” which, through the Burbank Priority in Education organization, is trying to raise funds to make up for a possible funding shortfall.

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