June 15, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Renovated Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange an ideal venue for football players and fans

Fans enjoy the halftime show of Saturday’s Estancia vs. Orange game at Fred Kelly Stadium. (Photo: Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone).

Commentary: The 3,400 seat facility is home for El Modena, Orange, Villa Park and Canyon athletic programs.

Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange has been a tremendous home for athletic teams, including football squads at El Modena, Orange, Villa Park and Canyon high since its re-opening in 2021 following a major renovation.

Officials with the Orange Unified School District got it right when they planned the 3,400 seat facility on the campus of El Modena High School. The newer version of Fred Kelly Stadium has a synthetic track and the field has linings for football, lacrosse and soccer.

In an earlier story before the opening, officials noted the stadium is named after Frederick “Fred” Kelly, who was a graduate of Orange High School. He went on to compete at USC and was selected to be a member of the 1912 U.S. Olympic Team. He won the 110-meter hurdles at the 1912 Summer Olympics. Kelly died on May 7, 1974 at the age of 82.

To see the slide show, click on the first photo:

OC Sports Zone reporters and photographers have covered a number of football games since its re-opening. But this reporter, who saw numerous games at the stadium before it was renovated, had a chance to see the stadium first hand Saturday night when Orange hosted Estancia in an Orange Coast League game. The stadium was first put to use after the pandemic in 2021.

It is indeed a very impressive facility ….. accessible stands for fans, superb field for players, a high tech state of the art scoreboard that includes a message board, clear sound system which even included recorded the ability to provide pre-game messages to fans, a powerful lighting system and new restrooms and ticket booth.

We didn’t get a chance to visit the concession stand but most likely that’s first rate too. And oh yes, the stadium also has a roomy press box with a great sight-line for the crew and the media and a large parking lot.

We’re also told that the team rooms include 40 gear lockers and each room includes a coach’s team room. In addition, trainer tables have been installed in each room, new showers were installed and there is a referee’s locker room.

We have seen many other wonderful stadiums covering football in OC over the years.

Santa Ana Unified School District officials stepped up big-time with the construction of a new on-campus stadium at Saddleback High School, the new home of the Roadrunners, which was unveiled to the delight of fans and players this season.

SAUSD also has on-campus stadiums at three other high schools.

Perhaps districts in other Orange County cities who have older venues will consider following the lead by Orange Unified School District and Santa Ana Unified School district to renovate their stadiums.

It would be a solid game plan.

—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com