Seventy years after it was originally constructed as Westside Union High School football stadium, (and later renamed Loftin stadium) is now under reconstruction.

Los Banos Unified school district superintendent Dr. Mark Marshall welcomed a group of over 100 people including school board members, teachers, students, cheerleaders, band members, coaches and interested members of the community to the August 25 groundbreaking on a warm afternoon.

Members of VFW Post 2487 and American Legion Post 166 posted the colors, followed by student Haylee May Olague singing the National Anthem. School board president Anthony Parreira led the Pledge of Allegiance and Pastor Michael Neu of St. John’s Lutheran Church gave the invocation.

Among those assembled were Los Banos Mayor Tom Faria, Councilmember Deborah Lewis, school board members Parreira, Gene Lieb and Gary Munoz, as well as school board candidate Dayna Valadao. Dr. Steve Tietjen, Merced County Superintendent of Schools attended the event.

Also in attendance were representatives from the Los Banos Elks Lodge and Los Banos Tiger Youth football, along with Los Banos High School football team members and head coach Dustin Caropreso.        

Los Banos high school cheerleaders and the high school band were also there and performed, as well as former Tiger head football coach Donald Toscano, former athletic director Gary Caropreso and current athletic director Joe Barcellos.

Marshall explained to those in attendance that the construction will be completed in three phases. Phase one will be the construction of ticket entrance, concession stand, dressing rooms, equipment storage rooms and bathrooms. It is scheduled to be completed in late May 2023. Phase two will be the installation of a turf football field and all-weather track. Phase three will address the sound system, stadium stands and press box areas.

Superintendent of Schools Steve Tietjen, Los Banos Superintendent of Schools Mark Marshall, former Los Banos varsity football coach Don Toscano, Los Banos High School Principal Jason Waltman, Los Banos varsity head football coach Dustin Caropreso, Los Banos Athletic Director Joe Barcellos, former Los Banos Athletic Director Gary Caropreso, Los Banos School Board President Anthony Parreira, Board Trustee Gary Munoz and Los Banos Mayor Tom Faria.

Michael Martin