For more than a year, the renovation of Bakersfield High School’s historic Griffith Field have been ongoing, but the completion of the massive project is nearing the finish line.
Bakersfield High School Principal David Reese said the stadium should reopen for the team’s Sept. 29 game against Ridgeview, and the project is moving along on schedule.
Opened in 1923, Griffith Field was originally home to Bakersfield College and Bakersfield High’s powerful football programs. The Drillers have made it their own since the 1950s, and have dominated on the field.
“We wanted to get the best of the old (stadium) and move it forward and modernize it,” Reese said.
Before the renovations, Griffith Field was plagued by drainage issues and flooding that made the field a mess late in the season. The stadium’s dirt track also featured the unusual feature of having runners run behind the visiting bleachers. That has all changed with the renovation and addition of an all-weather track — the second in the Kern High School District.
The ample visitors stands have been moved back, and new concrete concourses have been poured that replaced the old dirt area and basketball courts. The renovation preserved the historic grandstand but two additional seating areas now flank the main grandstand. Underneath the main stadium new boys and girls locker rooms, showers and coach’s offices are being constructed.
One historic item that was preserved was the tunnel that leads the Drillers from the locker rooms onto the field. Reese said there was a plan to remove the tunnel but the school fought to preserve the iconic place, where many former Driller players have carved their named into the walls to honor championship seasons.
Other improvements include a new press box, new snack bar and much-improved restrooms. Previously, visitors had to use portable toilets on the visitors side.
UNCOVERING HISTORY AT GRIFFITH FIELD
A gallery of renovations of Bakersfield High School’s Griffith Field