IRVINE, Calif. /California Newswire/ — The Orange County Great Park Corporation today announced it is moving forward with a 30-acre expansion of the Great Park. USS Cal Builders, Inc., headquartered in Stanton, Calif. was selected in a public bid process and awarded the $22.8 million contract for construction.

The funds for the completion of the Western Sector Park Development Plan are part of the $200 million in developer fees the City of Irvine received under the original agreement with Lennar in 2005 (developer is now FivePoint Communities, Inc.) and appropriated in the FY 2012-2013 budget. Construction is expected to begin this summer and to be completed in mid-to-late 2013.

“We are excited to move forward with the next phase of the Great Park and deliver 30 additional acres of exciting features including our first sports fields,” said Beth Krom, Chair, Orange County Great Park Corporation. “The new features will offer something for visitors of every age. Sports and fitness enthusiasts, history buffs and gardeners will all have something new to enjoy at the Great Park.”

The expansion will include the following components:

· South Lawn: The South Lawn 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, jogging and exercise trail, as well as more than 400 tree plantings.

· New Visitors Center Pavilion: Replacing the existing temporary Visitors Center, the new 5,000-square-foot Visitors Center Pavilion will be located near the Great Park Balloon. It will be the Great Park’s first new permanent building and feature a larger lobby, restroom facilities, concession area, exhibition areas and office space.

· 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 existing Great Park Balloon and the South Lawn.

· Water features: Six new ponds, the first water features at the Great Park, will be built as part of the project. The Walkable Historical Timeline will connect to one of the ponds and a viewing pier near the entrance to the Great Park.

· Storm Water Collection System: The South Lawn will feature a state-of-the-art storm water management system designed to offset up to 40 percent of the South Lawn’s irrigation needs. The system will capture, filter and store storm water in the new ponds on the South Lawn, where the storm water will be mixed with reclaimed water from Irvine Ranch Water District.

· 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.

Economic Impact:
In addition to expanding the Great Park’s current footprint by 15 percent, the construction of the South Lawn will generate more than 50 full-time equivalent construction jobs for the Orange County economy.

“The Great Park is proud to move forward with latest phase of the Park, but also proud to contribute to the local economy,” said Mike Ellzey, Chief Executive Officer, Orange County Great Park Corporation. “The development will substantially increase our active space at the Great Park and create badly-needed construction jobs, which will have an important positive economic impact in Orange County.”

About the Orange County Great Park
Hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over Southern California enjoy the Orange County Great Park’s current array of recreational and educational opportunities, including views from the iconic Great Park Balloon that rises 400 feet in the air and provides a panoramic view of Orange County. 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. The Great Park also hosts a variety of special events that provide unique experiences for the entire family, including the Growing the Park Anniversary Celebration, annual Pumpkin Harvest, Great Night! Family New Year’s Eve, Flights & Sounds Summer Festival and the weekly Great Park Farmers Market. The Great Park, with its approximately 1,300-acre master plan, is the centerpiece of the redevelopment of the publicly-owned portion of the 4,700-acre former Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro.