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New stadium at Moreno Valley’s Canyon Springs High ends 30-year-plus waiting game

Canyon Springs High School students are watching closely as a $20 million athletic complex rises from the dust of a massive construction project on the west side of their Moreno Valley campus.
The students often have a question for Assistant Principal Amanda Deniston.
Head Football Coach Howard Boyd, left, and Assistant Principal Amanda Deniston already are taking pride in Canyon Springs High School’s new athletic complex. (Photo by David Downey, staff)
“They’ll ask me, ‘Mrs. Deniston, is it going to be ready?’”
Deniston said the answer is, yes. The complex’s signature 3,000-seat football stadium will be substantially complete and ready to host the Wednesday, June 6, commencement for 550 graduating seniors.
“It’s our new tradition,” Deniston said.
The venue will be a source of pride for not only students, but also for the community . The more than 30-year-old campus was Moreno Vallley Unified School District’s only high school without a stadium.

The football stadium isn’t the only thing taking shape along Pigeon Pass Road. In the largest sports project tackled by the district in years, construction workers also are building two softball fields, eight tennis courts and a practice soccer field.
Josh Noble, superintendent for Erickson-Hall Construction, which is overseeing the project, said workers are putting finishing touches on three buildings around the stadium — housing a ticket booth, concession stand, and locker rooms for home and visiting teams.
The project will deliver a total of 134 new parking spaces, including 14 next to the stadium, Noble said.
As for the stadium itself , it will double as a football and soccer venue. Canyon Springs Athletic Director Ralph Dudley said its synthetic field will host freshman, junior varsity and varsity programs in both sports.
The wide ring around the field will be a first-rate, nine-lane, track with an asphalt base and rubber surface, said Samer Alzubaidi, district facilities director .
In addition to fostering a graduation tradition, the complex will redefine “home.”
The football team will actually play home games at home. The track team can have a meet on campus. And the marching band will be able to host the annual Cougarfest Band Tournament in “Cougar Country.”
“We never get to host anything at our school,” said Thomas Jurado, a junior preparing to serve as the band’s drum major next fall. “Now we will be able to.”
Construction crews work on the new home of the Canyon Springs Cougars on Wednesday, May 23. Officials say the stadium will be ready to host the school’s Wednesday, June 6, graduation ceremony. (Photo by Andrew Foulk, contributing photographer)
The inaugural sporting event, officials said, will be the Aug. 25 football home opener against arch-rival Moreno Valley High School.
Head Coach Howard Boyd can’t wait.
“I’m like a little kid,” Boyd said. “I can’t wait to get into the toy store.”
Boyd, who played football at Grambling State University in Louisiana, said the “college level stadium” will spur home-grown athletes from the surrounding neighborhood to play for Canyon Springs rather than transfer to a school with better facilities.
“It’s going to open some doors,” he said. “If you build it, they will come.”
The new football-soccer stadium at Canyon Springs High School in Moreno Valley is nearing completion, just in time for the Wednesday, June 6, graduation ceremony. (Photo by Andrew Foulk, contributing photographer)
Until now, Dudley said, Canyon Springs has lost marquee athletes in multiple sports.
“As a result, our programs haven’t been as competitive as we would like,” he said.
Boyd said he’s already come up with a nickname for the stadium.
“I call it The Pit,” he said.
“What?” Deniston asked. “We’re going to have to talk about that. I like where your head is. But, The Pit? I don’t know.”
Boyd suggested the name is descriptive — the stadium is in sort of a hole below Pigeon Pass Road. And he said it would serve the purpose of intimidating opposing teams. There’s going to be only one way in and one way out, he said.
Well, not exactly.
A worker puts finishing touches on the home bleachers at Canyon Springs High School on Wednesday, May 23. (Photo by Andrew Foulk, contributing photographer)
“The coach is not technically correct,” Alzubaidi said.
He said the 2,000-seat home bleachers on the stadium’s west side has a long handicapped-accessible ramp that will allow people to climb up to Pigeon Pass.
In any event, junior Bobbi Cota, who plays cymbals for the band, said it’ll be fun to “actually have home games instead of going to other schools.”
Already, family members appear to be a little jealous.
“My brother went here and my mom went here. And they’re like, ‘You’re actually getting a stadium now?’” Cota said. “I guess I’m the lucky one in the family.”

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