Less than three years after boosters at a California school helped circumvent a school district's tight budget to construct a new baseball storage and locker room costing $36,000, that very facility may itself be torn down because it can't legally meet building code, essentially because it fails to meet American with Disabilities Act access standards due to a lack of planning behind its construction.
As reported extensively by the Orange County Register's Eric Carpenter, Anaheim Hills (Calif.) Canyon High finds itself mired in a battle between booster club members and school district officials, who pledged to demolish the structure once it was determined it did not meet state regulations for campus buildings. According to Carpenter, school officials investigated the possibility of retrofitting the dugout complex -- called the "Champions Room" -- to make it meet state standards, but such a procedure would cost approximately $200,000, more than six times the initial $36,000 construction cost which was ponied up by the Canyon High baseball booster club in fall 2009.
It probably isn't a surprise to learn that those booster club members and their children, many of whom are still part of the baseball program, were left infuriated by the decision to knock down the facility so soon after its construction, even if there are valid reasons to do so. Current Canyon Hills baseball players even threatened to chain themselves to the Champions Room or stand in the way of demolition crews if that was the only way to save what they see as a key part of their stadium.
"This is a room that means a lot to these players and to what has been a very successful program," R.J. Knutson, the former president of the boosters' club, told the Register. "We just want them to delay it so we can talk this through and find a way to keep this building standing."
While the parents and players almost certainly would have been upset with any destruction of the facility, their fury was further stoked by a pretty deplorable lack of communication regarding plans to demolish it. The Register reported that the decision to bulldoze the Champions Room was made months ago and scheduled for July 11, but the booster club only learned of the destruction plans a week before it was set to go ahead.
In part because of that now self-acknowledged lack of communication, school officials agreed to delay the demolition at the 11th hour on Tuesday night, postponing it for the moment while leaving its demolition in the near future a very real possibility, if not a likelihood.
Whether or not the Champions Room remains standing remains in the balance, though one thing is certain: If it goes down, it will do so to the extreme consternation of a group that actively threw itself into making sure it would be constructed in the first place just three years ago, at significant cost, at that.