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After some delays, portable locker rooms move closer to reality at Stengel Field

After some delays, portable locker rooms move closer to reality at Stengel Field
Glendale Community College and Glendale Unified School District hope to have portable locker rooms installed at Stengel Field by opening day 2020. (Raul Roa / Glendale News-Press)

A project to install modular buildings at Stengel Field that has dragged on much like a collegiate baseball double-header is gaining traction.

While partners Glendale Community College and the Glendale Unified School District have passed a completion goal originally slated for last month, the deadline to install portable locker rooms at Stengel Field in Verdugo Park by opening days early next year remains intact.

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Two potential modular buildings are inching closer to reality for the baseball programs at Crescenta Valley High School and GCC, as was discussed during a Glendale Unified school board meeting on June 18.

“We would always like our projects to move as quickly as possible,” said Jennifer Freemon, board president, in an email.

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“However, more importantly is that our projects are well-vetted and thoroughly planned out. Since we are taking the extra time to look at long-term sustainable solutions, I am indeed comfortable with the progress of the project,” she added.

Glendale Unified and GCC officials estimate the cost will be between $135,000 and $190,000, with each entity expected to contribute half.

The local college and Crescenta Valley High play their home games at city-owned Stengel Field and share the facility with various youth leagues.

Glendale and Hoover highs also played each other at Stengel Field at the April 26 season finale.

The modular buildings would serve as a changing area and locker room, a site for team meetings and a snack bar with electric utility. The buildings would not include restrooms, water, sewer or plumbing.

Each modular is expected to be 24 feet by 40 feet, with Crescenta Valley High’s portable situated down the third-base line and GCC’s located adjacent to home plate near the fire zone.

The college’s trustees will examine the matter further at their next meeting on Tuesday.

The modular schematics discussed on June 18 marked the first plans presented to Glendale Unified board members since meetings on Oct. 16 and Nov. 5.

On Nov. 5, district staff laid out a timeline for completion, initially set for last month.

Yet, college and district staff did not finalize plans until an April 22 meeting at Stengel Field.

Glendale Unified staff then met city officials on May 30 to discuss installation of the portables, which are allowed under a joint-use agreement between the city and district.

“It is important that we thoroughly plan each project while also being mindful of our other district priorities,” Stephen Dickinson, Glendale Unified’s chief business and financial officer, said.

“Although there have been some delays in the Stengel Field project, we are confident the bungalows [will] be in place for the 2019-20 baseball season,” he added.

To move forward, the bungalows must be approved by the city’s Building and Safety Department.

Glendale Unified staff members are preparing documents for presentation and are expecting direction from the city department on some items, including modifications to the fire lane.

If there’s positive news for Glendale Unified and GCC, it’s that impermanent portables do not require lengthy approval from the state architect’s office.

Hagop Kassabian, Glendale Unified’s administrator in charge of planning, development and facilities, said the district is looking at buying modular buildings from the Long Beach Unified School District.

Glendale Unified will purchase both portables, with money coming from General Fund maintenance funds. GCC will reimburse payment for its building.

“The project is estimated to be completed within six months from the date the modular units are purchased,” Dickinson said.

Though season schedules have not been released, GCC’s opening day is expected near the end of January, while Crescenta Valley will likely start in mid-February.

Installation of portable locker rooms, however, does amplify one issue for Glendale Unified.

A number of Glendale High parents complained of perceived “inequality” between the Crescenta Valley baseball program and those at Glendale and Hoover highs during the Nov. 5 meeting.

Glendale High baseball parent Anne Nord said one key advantage Stengel Field offers is lights, which allow for night games and higher attendance.

“Having equal time at Stengel Field for home night games would allow parents, grandparents and all family members and friends to come out,” Nord said.

“I don’t oppose upgrades at Stengel,” Glendale High parent Christina Kovanik said. “I’m asking that the board look at the inequity between the three schools.”

Fellow Glendale High parent Noriko Tichenor noted “how shocked and how appalled” she was to hear the amount of money the district was willing to spend on only one program.

“We don’t have changing rooms,” Tichenor said. “We don’t have snack stands. The boys change in the dugout and that’s how it’s been all these years.”

Glendale Unified board member Shant Sahakian, a former Hoover High baseball player, acknowledged a gap.

“I recognize the challenge that our Glendale and Hoover parents are experiencing today,” he said. “We need to create more opportunities for our Glendale and Hoover baseball teams to host evening home games at Stengel Field without negatively impacting CV, while we look toward long-term investments and solutions for our athletic facilities.”

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