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Justin-Siena to dedicate ‘Dodd Stadium’ Friday

Justin-Siena to dedicate ‘Dodd Stadium’ Friday

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Justin-Siena High School will name its new turf and track complex “Dodd Stadium,” in memory of Napans Bill and Pat Dodd, who were longtime supporters of the private parochial school.

A dedication ceremony recognizing the Dodd family will take place Friday at 7 p.m., a half-hour before Justin-Siena kicks off its 2008 football season at home against Emery-Emeryville in a nonleague game.

In an announcement to school faculty and staff last week, Brother Robert J. Wickman, F.S.C., president of Justin-Siena, said the new all-weather track and synthetic playing field will be named after the late Bill and Pat Dodd.

Bill Dodd was a former chairman of the Justin High Association, an organization that supported athletics at the school. He was also a former president of the J-S 200 Club, which raised funds for the school’s foundation.

Pat Dodd was involved in parent-teacher groups at Justin-Siena, a Catholic, Lasallian, college preparatory high school that is a CIF North Coast Section member and plays in the Marin County Athletic League.

“Bill and Pat were pioneer parents of our school and all their children are Justin-Siena graduates,” Brother Robert said. “They were central figures in the early years of the school and were instrumental in getting Justin-Siena on the map. Bill and Pat have gone home to God but their children have learned the importance and joy of giving, which their mom and dad instilled in them.”

Work on the $2.5-million redevelopment project to upgrade athletic facilities through a private-public partnership began in the spring. Justin-Siena’s board of trustees and the Lasallian Education Corp., approved the project, which was donor-initiated.

Football, soccer and cross country teams are already using the complex, which will feature a donor monument at the entrance. “Dodd Stadium” will be on the scoreboard.

“The field, the track, the stadium … it’s a fabulous facility,” said Mike Fisher, the Braves’ new athletic director. “I wish I had something like this at my old high school.”

Through a private-public partnership, the design of a new field and track will allow for maximum use of the facility, school officials said. Justin-Siena will share the stadium with at least three organizations: Napa Saints youth football, Napa Junior Lacrosse Club, and the Napa Sheriff’s Activities League. It will allow for year-round use.

P.E. classes and other Justin-Siena teams will also be able to use the complex, which will be further enhanced with landscaping. The stadium has the Braves’ athletic logo in the center of the field and the school’s name in both end zones.

It was Bill Dodd, one of Bill and Pat’s five children and a Napa County Supervisor, who had the vision for the stadium’s capital improvement project, said Brother Robert. Dodd, a Justin-Siena graduate, former school trustee and a member of the school’s Hall of Honor, has been in charge of the project’s fundraising campaign and “has been the single most significant force in raising the $2 million to bring the stadium dream to reality,” Brother Robert said.

Carmen Policy, a former San Francisco 49ers front office executive who has relocated to the Napa Valley, is the honorary chair of the fundraising committee.

The construction committee includes Jim Asbury, chairman; Gretchen Stranzl McCann, of GSM landscape architects; and Ryan Gregory, a civil engineer and principal with Riechers Spence & Associates. O.C. Jones of Berkeley is the general contractor for the project.

The Dodd family — Bill Dodd, Steve Dodd, Jim Dodd, John Dodd and Debby Lambert — was one of the donors to the facility’s renovations. The Palmaz family of Napa made a $500,000 donation.

“During the summer, Bill accepted, on behalf of his siblings, my invitation that we name the stadium after his parents,” said Brother Robert. “Not only is this a fitting tribute to two wonderful people, but it honors in a special way the hard work that Bill has done in developing the public-private partnership which is enabling our stadium to become an attractive and first-rate facility for our student-athletes and many other young people who participate in organized sports in Napa.

“Bill saw the need for this renovation. He took on a significant role in the fundraising for this and went out and captured the attention of the community.”

The actual footprint of the stadium remains the same; both the stands and lights will stay where they are. But the track and field set up will allow for spectators to see everything, including all field events, from the bleachers. There will be a warm-up/staging area, with additional equipment storage buildings planned.

“This project came in under budget and ahead of schedule because of the time and the talent that was donated to this project by Jim Asbury,” said Dodd. “This public-private partnership really was a true gift I think for the school. But it’s a true gift to the community as well.”

FieldTurf was put in and the track was done by California Track and Engineering, Inc.

“There were a lot of people when we said that we had to raise $2.5 million, that just didn’t think that this could happen,” said Dodd, a former chairman of the Winetaster’s Cup golf tournament, a major fund-raiser for Braves’ athletics, and a 1974 graduate. “They thought this was a pipe dream, that there’s no way that the community would support this. Frankly, after the first six months we were getting a little bit concerned.

“The community really stepped up. There were some very large contributors to this project. There’s so many wonderful people in our community that when they’re asked to help, that they step forward and help. So often we forget just how much generosity there is in our Valley. These people really make it happen.

“I’ll tell you, the coaches and the players are just so appreciative. It gives them just a warm feeling. It’s great to be able to play on a superior field.”

Dodd said he is carrying on the support for Justin-Siena that his dad started in 1973.

“He always supported where we were going to school. When you go to a small Catholic school, it really takes a community. To make it the best experience possible, you need help from the parents and families. He was one of many pioneer supporters of Justin-Siena High School, not only in the athletics area, but also he helped start the Foundation of Justin-Siena.”

Dodd’s father and others played a key role in building the school’s original football field.

Having the stadium named after his parents is something that Bill Dodd is very proud of.

“The opportunity to memorialize our parents names and their role, not only at Justin-Siena, but in the community at large, it’s just fantastic,” he said.

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