Campus sports facilities out of luck

Measure C funds lacking as other projects go over budget

Randi Vanible

No bleachers for baseball fans. No batting cage for softball players.

The chance of injury in the outdated gym has increased because of its slick spots and chips of wood.

De Anza College’s sports facilities need to be renovated.

“After more than 40 years of running up and down the court, the basketball court floor has not been replaced,” said Coleen Lee-Wheat, dean of physical education.

The gym has only one set of bleachers.

The softball field provides no dugouts.

“The backstop is made for seventh graders and younger,” said Lee-Wheat.

The risk of injury is high for spectators watching from behind the catcher.

The baseball field is as old as the college, established in 1967. It has the old original fencing, rusted poles and crumbling dugouts. People bring their own chairs to the games. The outfield has a slope. It is a visual nightmare.

Of 15 schools in its baseball conference, De Anza is the only one with its original facility.

Scott Hertler, head baseball coach for 17 years, used to play baseball and football at De Anza.

Ten years ago, he raised $16,000 without any help from the school. With that he was able to install a tin roof on the batting cage, lights and AstroTurf.

“The team makes do with what they have; we don’t want to impede,” Hertler said.

The team tries to make the field look more presentable. Players put sod on the field themselves and also pick up the garbage.

“They try to hide the blemishes,” Lee-Wheat said. “The team is dedicated to their sport, and they take an hour to get it ready, very passionate.”

In 2006, district voters passed bond Measure C, granting De Anza and Foothill College $491 million for improvement projects.

With the money, the Foothill-De Anza district planned to refurbish and reconstruct buildings and outside facilities, and to upgrade equipment and technology. After completing projects like the Media and Learning Center and the Corporation Yard, the FHDA district left outside facilities for last.

The stadium, which consists of the track and football field, took more money than expected. After going over budget, the stadium was still not completed. It has only some gates originally planned and is missing half of the projected bleachers.

The baseball field was one of the last projects in mind, but was promised around $5 million for renovation. But as the projects continued, the money ran out.

“The state has never set a budget aside for refurbishing the sports facilities,” Lee-Wheat said. “They give it to the college and they decide where the money is most needed. There are plans for addressing the issue, but there is no money to fix them in this down economy.”