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In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a time when I u...
Great Park Commemorates Construction Progress on new South Lawn Sports + Fitness Complex
"Topping out" ceremony for new Visitors Center Pavilion marks important milestone in construction of the Great Park's new $22.8 million, 30-acre expansion

IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Local business and community leaders gathered near the Great Park Balloon as the a 28-foot-long, 1,200 lb. steel beam was hoisted into place during a special "topping out" ceremony today commemorating the placement of the final beam in the steel frame of the Great Park's new 4,762-square-foot Visitors Center Pavilion.  The event serves as an important milestone in the construction of the Great Park's new $22.8 million, 30-acre expansion project that launched in June.

Named the South Lawn Sports + Fitness Complex, the new 30-acre section of the Great Park will include four tournament-quality soccer fields, four basketball courts, an innovative, mile-long fitness trail developed in partnership with Kaiser Permanente, a reflecting pond and viewing pier near the Great Park entrance on Marine Way, and a Community Garden, among other amenities. Construction of the South Lawn Sports + Fitness Complex and the Visitors Center Pavilion is on schedule for completion in the summer of 2013.

"The Board of Directors of the Great Park Corporation is excited to see the new Visitors Center Pavilion and the features of the South Lawn Sports + Fitness Complex take shape," said Beth Krom, Chair, Orange County Great Park Corporation.  "This is the first new vertical construction project at the Great Park and it is fitting that it will serve as the first stop for Great Park visitors when it is completed next summer."

Visitors Center Pavilion

The 4,762-square-foot Visitors Center Pavilion will replace the temporary Visitors Center and will be located near the Great Park Balloon. It will feature a large lobby, restroom facilities, retail area, and office space. Approximately 35 tons of structural steel will be used in the construction of the Visitors Center Pavilion as well as 1,000 tons of El Toro Stone, which are pieces of the demolished concrete runways from the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro. The runway pieces will be used to create a gabion wall on the south side of the facility.

Additional Great Park Expansion Features

The construction project currently underway at the Great Park also includes the following components:

  • Sports Facilities:  The South Lawn Sports + Fitness Complex will expand the Great Park's sports programs and include four tournament-quality soccer fields, two of which will be synthetic grass and lighted for evening use. Other features include four full-size basketball courts, a new restroom and operations facility building, the mile-long Kaiser Permanente health and fitness trail, as well as the planting of more than 300 trees.
  • Reflecting Pond and Viewing Pier: A reflecting pond and viewing pier near the entrance of the Great Park will connect to the Walkable Historical Timeline and link the South Lawn Sports + Fitness Complex with the Great Park Balloon. The reflecting pond and additional storm water retention ponds are the first water features at the Great Park.
  • Walkable Historical Timeline:  The Walkable Historical Timeline, which currently takes visitors on a 750-foot historical walk through history, will be expanded to reach a total of 2,604 feet and include more than 100 additional historical details.  It will also serve as a natural connection between the Great Park Balloon and the reflecting pond and viewing pier.
  • Storm Water Collection System: The South Lawn will feature a state-of-the-art storm water management system designed to supplement the South Lawn's irrigation needs. The system will capture, filter and store storm water in the new retention ponds on the South Lawn. It will have the capacity for 5 million gallons of storm water storage. Approximately 30,000 cubic yards of dirt are being excavated from the site to create the storm water retention ponds.
  • Community Garden: Adjacent to the existing Farm + Food Lab, the Community Garden will feature 99 plots, including six Americans with Disability Act-compliant plots. Additionally, an open turf area with a large shade tree and picnic tables will provide a community gathering area for gardeners to share their experiences. 
  • Infrastructure: The construction will also include installation of a variety of infrastructure improvements that will set the stage for future Great Park development, including underground utilities, electrical equipment and lighting, drainage improvements, irrigation systems, asphalt and concrete, fencing and landscaping, as well as the foundational backbone for the future electronic security system.

The Orange County Great Park is located off the 5 Freeway and Sand Canyon in Irvine.

For more information, go to

About the Great Park

Hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over Southern California enjoy the Orange County Great Park's array of recreational and educational opportunities and participate in shared experiences, including panoramic views from the iconic Great Park Balloon that rises 400 feet in the air.  Other Great Park features include the Carousel, Farm + Food Lab, Kids Rock Playground, Walkable Historical Timeline, Palm Court Arts Complex, North Lawn recreation area and historic Hangar 244.  In addition to free sports clinics, gardening workshops, weekly Farmers Market and other community events, the Great Park hosts an annual series of special events that provide unique experiences for the entire family, including the Growing the Park: Anniversary Celebration, Great Park Pumpkin Harvest, Great Night! Family New Year's Eve, and the Flights & Sounds Summer Festival. With its approximate 1,300-acre master plan, the Great Park is the centerpiece of the redevelopment of the publicly-owned portion of the 4,700-acre former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro. For more information, please visit

SOURCE Orange County Great Park

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