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Basketball Team Needs a Home in Simi Valley

TIMES STAFF WRITER

With the Simi Valley High gymnasium deemed structurally unsafe since the earthquake, and unavailable for at least the 1994-95 basketball season, the Pioneers are left to scramble for a place they can call home--at least temporarily.

Although Simi Valley administrators are lobbying for funds to build a temporary gym on campus, a need remains for a practice facility for the months in which it will take to build the structure. Estimates project at least 90 days to build a temporary gym and the final proposal for the structure will not be submitted until the end of August. A decision regarding that proposal is expected to take several weeks.

But, those working on the project remain optimistic.

“Our goal is to have it done before the basketball season,” said Lowell Schultze, a Simi Valley Unified School District employee who is coordinating the project.

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According to the proposal, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will pick up 90% of the cost, the state 7.5% and the district the remaining 2.5%.

District officials are currently considering three different types of structures and two possible sites on campus. The three structures currently being considered include a fabric, tent-like dome with PVC framing, a permanent steel structure, or an air dome--much like the “bubble” gym already erected at Alemany High.

The proposal calls for the Simi Valley structure to be nearly twice the size of Alemany’s, which includes one regulation basketball court and seating to accommodate about 400.

Simi Valley’s proposed gym would be nearly as large as its permanent gym and would seat 700 to 800.

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Basketball Coach Dean Bradshaw is hoping the Pioneers’ misfortune can be turned into a positive. He is hoping a “bubble” gym will throw off opposing teams.

“We will definitely use it to our advantage. We’ll get to practice in the facility every day,” Bradshaw said. “Other teams will only get to play in there once.”

Meanwhile, the Pioneers are without an indoor practice facility--but not without an option.

The Simi Valley Parks and Recreation Dept. in June dedicated to the public a new $3.1 million gymnasium at Rancho Santa Susana Community Park, which is about half a mile from the school. Plans are currently being worked out that would allow the volleyball and basketball teams to practice in the facility.

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But, once again, proposals must be approved and decisions must be made, which means school will have started long before plans are finalized.

“We’re still in the discussion stage with Simi Valley Unified,” said Rick Johnson, public information director for parks and recreation. “But the parks and Simi Valley Unified have shared their facilities for a long time--33 years of a good working relationship--so I don’t foresee a problem.”


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