For nearly three years, Hart High boys' basketball Coach Mike May has been carting around basketballs and uniforms in the trunk of his car.
His team has been bounced around from gym to gym in the Santa Clarita Valley for practices and games since the Northridge earthquake in January 1994 damaged the Hart gym beyond repair.
But construction of a new gym has been completed and tonight the nomadic Indians will finally settle down when they open the 25th Hart Holiday Classic against Verdugo Hills at 8:30 p.m.
"It's been a while," May said of playing a home game on campus. "Sometime you think [the moving around] is [never] going to end, but it looks like it finally will."
The boys' and girls' basketball teams have played home games at Valencia High and have practiced on courts that are smaller than regulation at the Newhall Boys and Girls Club adjacent to Hart.
"It's been like being a guest in somebody's house," May said. "We were always subject to other people's schedules. But the neatest thing is that I never heard one player complain about it," he said.
Construction of the $4.8-million gym began in Feburary. It seats 1,200 spectators, about 200 more than the old gym, and features elaborate three-dimensional artwork on the floor.
"It's just beautiful," Principal Laurence Strauss said. "People who have been in it have been overwhelmed with its looks."