The Crescenta Valley High School baseball team has a remarkable record – even before their season has begun. The record they have set concerns their fundraising efforts.
In about three days, the team was able to raise over $6,000 for two portable batting cages. They did this through a program titled Donors Choose. Michele Lynch and April Faieta organized this project, and its quick success even surprised them.
The team had to first be accepted by Donors Choose. To do this they needed to write a convincing essay on why they needed the equipment. In their proposal they first established how impressive the players are academically – “Fall semester, 61% of the players were on the honor roll with a GPA (grade point average) of 3.5 and higher.” They also cited their philanthropic work with the Children’s Hospital LA.
The CVHS baseball team travels to Stengel Field for practices and for games. They share the field with Glendale Community College and other teams. They stated in the proposal that the team wanted the portable batting cages to be used when they travel from field to field for games.
Their plea worked, and Donors Choose accepted their proposal and the funds began coming in.
“This is a great team and great parents,” Lynch said.
Last week she and her fellow parent boosters treated the team to a feast at Stengel Field provided by Cathy Tarunsky, a baseball mom whose children have already graduated from CVHS.
“Isn’t this a beautiful field?” Lynch asked.
Responsibility for the field had been transferred from the city of Glendale to the Glendale Unified School District in September. The CVHS baseball team has worked tirelessly to maintain the field.
After each practice the team picks up trash around the field and makes certain the field itself is clean and ready for the next team.
The team’s first game is scheduled on Saturday, weather permitting; however, rain is not the only thing that concerns parents.
Stengel Field has very few bleachers – only two in fact.
“There are only two rows of bleachers that are available,” said Jess Duran, Glendale city Community and Parks director.
The bleachers and locker/dressing room facility have been closed down due to structural issues. At a Sept. 24 Glendale City Council meeting, Duran warned the city of the danger of the structures. Water damage prompted the city to close a majority of the structures in 2011 leaving 300 bleacher seats available.
During an October city council meeting, city manager Scott Ochoa said the costs to rehabilitate the existing structure would range between $3 and $5 million.
GUSD is planning on bringing in temporary bleachers that will run along the left field foul area, Duran said.
“[The City of Glendale] is approving the installation of three units [which will seat] 90 persons per unit,” Duran said.
Some parents worry about the temporary seating and that the two rows are not nearly enough for the team’s fans and supporters.
“And from those benches [Stengel’s old bleachers], you can only see the game from the middle [behind home plate],” said one of the parents at the recent potluck dinner.
“I have heard that; I don’t agree. The only really bad seats are behind the third base dugout,” Duran said.
The city plans on demolishing the old stands and locker rooms and replacing them with aluminum bleachers that will accommodate 900 people. The demolition and bleacher placement is scheduled to be completed by the end of the calendar year, Duran said.
The budget for this is $450,000.
Some CVHS parents expressed surprise that the demolition cost was so high.
“We have to hire an engineer to develop the plans for demolition and it has to go out for a bid. There is going to be some hazardous abatement,” Duran said of the costs.
The plan will include subterranean work and the area will have to be flattened for the bleachers to be secure and concrete may have to be poured, he added.
Parents, including Lynch, thought the demolition would have started months ago, but Duran explained the plan was first presented in October and must go through the proper channels of planning and outside bids.
The extended plan discussed with GUSD is to add a structure that will include coaches’ offices, two locker rooms, a room for video playback and a concession stand. That estimated cost is about $8 million.
It is hoped that booster clubs and community organizations will be able to fundraise for the new facility.
In the meantime, this baseball season will test the patience of both players and game goers, especially during CVHS rival games, which have seen as many 1,000 fans attend.
Parents, including Lynch, said it was the delay that bothered them. They had thought the demolition would have begun months ago.
Coach Greg Alsdorf has been assisting CVHS baseball for about six years and has 30 years of baseball coaching experience. He echoed the concerns of the parents for the stands, the crowds and the season.
“It’s a disadvantage but if it’s a health problem, it [has to be dealt with],” he said.
Lynch said the school district has been very helpful and supportive.