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Dream field becomes reality

Coaches, players impressed with Memorial Field facility that includes new football field and running track.

February 25, 2012|BY JEFF TULLY, jeff.tully@latimes.com

BURBANK — They spent countless hours and large portions of their high school years competing and practicing on the football field and running track at Memorial Field.

Many players and coaches from Burroughs High and Burbank have fond memories of toiling on the sometimes muddy, often barren and uneven football venue or trying to deal with outdated track and field facilities and an outdated dirt running surface.

But that was the old Memorial Field.

Some of those same coaches and players got a chance to view the new state-of-the-art Memorial Field that was unveiled Saturday in a dedication ceremony of the facility on the campus of Burroughs High.

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The $12.2-million facility that is home to the Bulldogs and Indians football teams, as well as Bellarmine-Jefferson, features a new athletic field with artificial turf, an all-weather track, new pole vault, long jump, high jump and throwing areas, as well as new bleachers, lighting, restrooms and concession stands.

Individuals attending Saturday's event were impressed and even in awe of the updated stadium.

Burbank Mayor Jess Talamantes was a standout football player at Burroughs, graduating in 1971. He was one of many who was impressed with the way the facility turned out.

"I played football in this stadium and I ran track here as well," he said. "It looks so good now it makes me want to go back in time to be able to play on them now.

"In 1991, I was on a search committee to try and come up with a plan to get a new athletic facility here. Now, after 20 years, we were finally able to make that happen. ...It's long overdue. And to see how it turned out is just amazing."

David Machuca has a unique perspective on the new facility. Machuca is a 2002 Burbank graduate and played football for the Bulldogs. However, Machuca is also the new Bell-Jeff football coach, and said he is excited about coaching home games at the venue starting in the fall.

"It's amazing to see how this thing has turned out," Machuca said. "I remember playing here on a dirt field when I was at Burbank High. And now to have the opportunity for the kids to play on a brand new artificial turf in a brand new stadium is great. We at Bell-Jeff are honored to be a part of this and we feel fortunate to be able to play at this facility."

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