Burrell Field, a former home of Pacific High School’s football team and current sanctuary for San Leandro High, will be undergoing reconstruction this coming spring after 50 years of hosting memorable rivalries.
“There is quite a bit of passion among Pacific High graduates about their high school and about preserving that spot,” said Martin Capron, president of the San Leandro Sports Foundation (SLSF). “In fact, there is quite a bit of passion in San Leandro about keeping Burrell Field as a sports complex rather than ever selling it.”
Yet, after being condemned by the North Coast Section (NCS) for its field conditions and lack of financial support from the San Leandro Unified School District, the field will soon be repaired at the expense of the Measure M bond.
Measure M, approved in November 2010 by San Leandro voters, granted schools of the San Leandro Unified District $50.1 million in bonds to upgrade a variety of facilities, according to the Daily Review.
Through the Measure M bond, Burrell Field will become known as the Pacific Sporting Complex & Burrell Field, which will provide a synthetic all-turf field for the spectator sports of football, soccer, rugby and lacrosse.
The new stadium will have a seating capacity for 2,500 viewers, accompanied by a media box, ticketing booth, equipment storage facilities and locker rooms, according to Kathy Neisse, who has longevity with the SLSF.
Although the field is set for significant renovation, it will still be considered home to the San Leandro High Pirates and San Leandro Crusaders.
Burrell Field was a part of Pacific High, which was built in 1963 between Marina Boulevard and Interstate Highway 880 in San Leandro. Its name, Burrell, originated from the name of a former school district superintendent, said Neisse.
Pacific High was the second established high school in the San Leandro Unified School District, sparking a rivalry between them and fellow division foe San Leandro High.
“I remember those rivalry games between San Leandro High and Pacific High. Back then, we used to guard each other’s parking lot during school hours to keep the other school from throwing eggs at us and driving through our parking lot,” said 1973 Pacific High graduate Rick Arse. “[We] had quite the rivalry back then.”
However, in 1983, this rivalry would come to an end as the school board decided to close Pacific High as a result of a declining student population.
The school was then sold to a developer and in its place now resides Marina Square shopping center. Since its closure in 1983, the last remnant of Pacific High is the Burrell Field sporting complex and tennis courts.
Burrell Field has served as a location for various middle school promotions, track events and competitive football games. In addition to such events, Burrell has played host to some of the Bay Area’s top athletes, such as Dennis Dixon (Oregon/Pittsburgh Steelers), Jarrad Page (UCLA/Minnesota Vikings), and Scottie Cordier (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo).
As a final commemoration of alumni representing both Pacific and San Leandro High, the SLSF have fundraised money to promote one last game between the old rivals before Burrell Field is replaced.
“Whether they are from the ‘60s or ‘70s, these guys are really looking forward to going back out there one last time to visit their old school, visit with their old pals, and see that place one last time before it is bulldozed,” said Capron.
The game is schedule for Mar. 31 at 4pm and will feature former Pacific and San Leandro High players from the graduating classes of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s.
This entry was published in The Pioneer Online on Thursday, February 16th, 2012 at 1:28 pm.