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Army and Navy Academy athletic facility approved

CARLSBAD — City Council unanimously approved a Major Review Permit that allows the Army and Navy Academy to construct its new state-of-the-art athletic facility. 

While the athletic field gains new artificial turf, field lights and dugouts, the existing 1,800-square-foot facility will be replaced with a 27,349-square-foot site boasting top-notch amenities located at 2605 Carlsbad Boulevard.

City staff member Austin Silva recently explained to City Council that the project proposal was to demolish the current site and replace it with a two-story athletic facility. Silva pointed out that the plans consist of a gymnasium, a wrestling room, locker rooms, a trainer’s room, a lobby and concessions, staff offices, a press box, stadium seating, a ticket booth, a maintenance building, a perimeter fence and a parking lot.

The Army and Navy Academy is a college prep boarding school for boys from seventh to 12th grades. It remains the only military boarding school in California.

“In 2008, a Master Site Plan was approved to guide the future development of the academy,” Silva said.

Bill Hofman, a consultant for the Army and Navy Academy project, said it took many years for both the city staff and academy to develop a plan.

“The athletic facility is the first step of the implementation of the Master Plan that you adopted back in 2008,” Hofman said. “This is a superior facility.”

The building will use a Spanish Colonial Revival architectural theme and it’s anticipated for completion in or around the summer months of 2013.

Hofman went on to say they are proud of their future athletic facility.

Stephen Bliss, retired U.S. Army brigadier general and president of the Army and Navy Academy, was on hand to say a few words to City Council.

He began by thanking the city for the opportunity.

“This is, as Bill said, the first of what we hope will be a long string of buildings that will go up under the authority of the Master Plan that was approved in 2008,” Bliss said. “This is a facility that was long overdue and badly needed.”

In its 101-year school academy history, Bliss continued, they have not had adequate athletic facilities. The academy is anxious to eliminate this problem and create a complex to serve its athletic teams well.

The proposed facility will be the future of its football, soccer and baseball teams.

Bliss wanted everyone to know when their teams were not using the site it would also serve as a venue for youth and adult teams for the whole community.

“We hope it will also make everyone proud as a distinctive landmark on the northwest corner of Carlsbad,” Bliss said.

During the public comment portion of the agenda item, Katie Taylor of Taylor Real Estate had asked City Council members to reconsider sending the item back to the planning commission for further review. Taylor’s office, which sits adjacent to the future project construction site, believed there were items that still needed addressing. Although supportive of the project, Taylor has voiced her concerns in the past regarding property lines, drainage issues, parking and pedestrian safety.

Councilman Mark Packard said that according to city staff, the Army and Navy Academy had met or exceeded city standards.

Packard congratulated the academy on its design while Mayor Matt Hall called the plans an award-winning project.