Danville Express

Newsfront - May 4, 2007

SRVHS getting interim basketball courts

Plans have not changed for aquatic center at downtown high school

by Natalie O'Neill

The school district plans to build a simple outdoor sports facility in the area designated for the aquatic center at San Ramon Valley High School - but only temporarily.

"Until the time the money (for the aquatic center) is raised, the plan is to put in outdoor basketball courts," said Terry Koehne, spokesperson for the San Ramon Valley Unified School District.

The small gym at the high school, located adjacent to the existing pool, will be demolished in early fall, followed by the construction of an asphalt court with several basketball hoops, which will be completed about a month later.

"It makes use of that space. It wouldn't make sense to have a dirt patch with a fence around it," Koehne said.

Alamo and Danville residents were disappointed when they got wind of the plans this week and assumed the outdoor facility would be a permanent alternative to the aquatic center.

But the temporary hoops were in the plans all along and don't signify that the district is going back on any agreements with the Danville Aquatic Center Steering Committee, Koehne said.

The facility will be used for physical education and recreation, he added.

Plans to build a second pool and facility for both community and school use have already been OK'd by the district and now rest entirely on the steering committee's ability to raise money. The committee currently has about $1.4 million in contributions from the Town of Danville, R7-A Parks and Recreation Committee and independent contributors. The project is estimated to cost about $2.5 million.

In a joint school and community use facility, liability is usually split and legal responsibility is shifted depending on who is sponsoring the event.

"If it's a community-sponsored program, the community assumes the responsibility. If it's school-sponsored, the district does," Koehne explained

The construction of the outdoor court is part of the $17 million Measure A project to improve the school, by adding second-story classrooms, making improvements to the library, commons and cafeteria to the high school. Before the small gym is demolished, a new one will be built, beginning at the end of the school year.

Alamo R-7A Parks and Recreation Committee voted this March to contribute $200,000 to the project over a period of five years. In order for the money to be contributed by the unincorporated area, the Board of Supervisors must OK the use of those funds.

County Senior Civil Engineer Eric Wham said that from what he understands, the Board of Supervisors would have no reason to deny giving funds to the committee for the pool

While there are time limits on the project, as long as the steering committee is making active efforts to raise the money, a deadline won't be an issue, he said.

"I think the Board of Supervisors takes that very seriously - what communities' desires are," he said.

Contact Natalie O'Neill at noneill@danvilleweekly.com

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