Longtime supporter returning Tiger history to fellow donors
Ron Barber understands the significance of what he is doing - removing the iconic Amos Alonzo Stagg Memorial Stadium.
He also recognizes the bright future being planned for the western edge of University of the Pacific's Stockton campus.
"I look at it for what's new, what's going to be there, and it's exciting," said Barber, CEO of L&B Environmental Inc., the Stockton-based firm removing, recycling, repurposing and reusing the concrete, metal, dirt and wood from the stadium. "What they have planned to go in here in its place will bring life to the area."
L&B Environmental, founded in 1998, cleans up asbestos, mold and lead contamination, methamphetamine labs, biowastes and other environmental concerns, said Barber.
Heavy equipment with long booms have been reaching up from the stadium floor to knock down concrete and metal, including bleacher brackets partially constructed with recycled rifle barrels from Korean War-era weapons, said Barber. The Pacific Club came down April 18. The material from the stadium removal is being sorted by Barber's crew of 20 and trucked to area recycling plants.
But one of the first things Barber tells a visitor about the project is the task he has taken on himself to return sections of Stagg Memorial Stadium bleachers to donors who request them.
"That's almost a job in itself," Barber said of the task. "But the original donors are getting their bleachers back for no cost, so that's good."
Already there has been interest from alumni, donors, former football players and past coaches. Mike Merriweather, the former Pacific football player who went on to play linebacker in the National Football League in the 1980s and '90s, has contacted Barber about obtaining a piece of Stagg Memorial Stadium history.
Barber is not sure, however, that he will hear from all donors. After all, one bleacher is engraved "Tiger Class of 1923."
Some of the other bleachers have been donated to the Boy Scouts and the light towers have gone to the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds.
"So, there will be pieces of Stagg Memorial Stadium all over the county," said Barber.
Longtime booster Ron Addington convinced Barber and his wife, Bonnie, 10 years ago to get involved with raising funds for Pacific Athletics. That included donating prizes to the Orange and Black Ball, attending basketball and baseball games, and developing "a real love" for Pacific.
Barber never attended an athletic event in the stadium, but he and his firm carried out repairs and renovations to the stadium in advance of the 1999 Promise Keepers event that attracted more than 30,000 people for the evangelical meeting of the men's Christian group.
He also has been involved with community organizations such as Habitat for Humanity of San Joaquin County, the Asparagus Festival, and the committee that organized the recent Leadership Prayer Breakfast held at the Alex G. Spanos Center.
Barber said work is still on schedule to remove the 125,000 cubic yards of dirt that make up the berm stadium. That should begin in May.
Donors interested in retrieving their bleacher section should contact Barber by emailing him at email@example.com or calling his office at 209.932.0606.
For more information about Amos Alonzo Stagg Memorial Stadium and plans for the new athletic facilities:
"Stagg Stadium removal to begin; new Athletics facilities coming this fall"
Draft plan map for future Athletic District:
"62 Years of Stagg Stadium: The Rich History of a Stockton Landmark"
"Stagg Stadium Photo Gallery"