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Completion of Baseball Field at John Glenn High Months Overdue While Football Field Opens May 14

John Glenn baseball and softball field is not near completion and district officials are not saying why.

 

 

 

By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter

When John Glenn High had its groundbreaking ceremony in late January of 2018 for its new athletic facilities, it was hard to find anyone who didn’t have a smile on their face. The need for an on-campus football stadium was now a reality instead of a dream and the school would get brand new baseball and softball fields as well.

However, unhappy faces have surfaced since the and while there will be an opening ceremony for the football stadium on May 14, all is not well concerning the rest of the athletic fields, which includes the all-synthetic turf baseball and softball fields, beginning with co-athletic director and head baseball coach Jack Brooks. It was understood that the baseball fields were to be completed in time for the 2019 season. But, the soon-to-be athletic fields on the north side of the football stadium are nowhere near completion and there has been little to no talk from anyone as to the reason for the delays, nor a completion date, according to Brooks.

“Everything kind of revolved around the football field,” Brooks said. “The football field was the first; the main priority. After they kind of had the layout of that, we kind of started laying out the other fields, the field on the other side of the football field is kind of the multipurpose soccer practice field. And then the baseball field and obviously the two softball fields.”

The first meetings took place about four years ago for the upgrades in the school’s athletic facilities. Then came the passing of the Measure G bond in which Glenn received $25 million out of $375 million that the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District received.

Following the groundbreaking at the beginning of 2018, there wasn’t much mentioned about the baseball field. Brooks said he had weekly conversations with school administration as to the progress of the field, but the school administration wasn’t being told much either.

It wasn’t until Thanksgiving of 2018 that the baseball personnel began to have major concerns. In the Jan. 26, 2018 issue of the HMG-Community News, Estuardo A. Santillan, Assistant Superintendent, Business Services for the NLMUSD said there would be liquidating damages of $1,000 per day for finishing the project after the target completion date, which was supposed to be December of 2018.

For the past two seasons, the varsity baseball team has had to play its home games at Rio Hondo College while the varsity softball team called Zimmerman Park its home this past season.

“I was told December of 2018 that we would have a field for this regular season,” Brooks said. “That was always the plan; that was the original release date. We were supposed to have our baseball season on this field of this year. The 2019 season was supposed to be played at Glenn.”

Brooks said the school was not told early enough in the 2018-2019 academic year by anybody that it wasn’t going to have a field and added there was no communication. As a result, it was difficult to find a site to play the 2019 home games. In addition, the team has had to practice at Zimmerman Park, just north of the school and Brooks said it has been hard to get parents and fans out to the home games.

“It’s more about the kids,” Brooks said. “I have a great senior group that hasn’t played at Glenn for two years; hasn’t had a chance to practice for two years and I really feel bad for this group of seniors and their parents that have not had a chance to see them play. It’s been really difficult for the program and it’s really hurt the program in terms of numbers.”

The baseball team just completed a 13-11 season, losing to West Torrance High 4-0 this past Tuesday in a CIF-Southern Section Division 3 wild card game. The Eagles went 20-9 last season and has advanced to the postseason three straight seasons, something that hasn’t happened since the early 1990s.

When completed, the all synthetic baseball fields will have nice batting cages, bullpens on both sides of the field that will also be all synthetic and beautiful dugouts, Brooks says. However, there will be a safety concern with the light poles which have been placed in front of the dugouts and fence instead of behind the fence. The dimensions will be 315 feet down the lines and 365 to center and the home dugout will be on the first base side. But once again, no target date has been given for completion.

“[Glenn athletic director] Linda [Parra] has been the one that’s been doing a lot of the communication,” Brooks said. “She’s done a great job trying to reach out to the district and try to get an answer of when, or if, I guess, we would have a facility for this year. Obviously, the answers came a little late that we weren’t going to have a home field for the second year in a row and a place to practice.”

This isn’t the first time a Southern Section high school will have synthetic field surfaces. JSerra High and Mater Dei High have the same and Brooks says they have become more and more popular with less field maintenance. He added that future Glenn players will get a top of a line, flat, great playing surface on a constant basis without the elements playing much of a factor on a daily basis. When completed, he would like to play a third of a season under the lights.

“There’s work being done on a daily basis,” Brooks said. “Obviously I’m not out here; I’m teaching classes. I’m not monitoring it; it’s not my job to monitor. Even if I was out here watching, they’re not going to work any harder because I’m watching. But there’s activity and obviously the rain hasn’t helped either.

“We’re really hoping it injects a shot of life into the school,” Brooks later said. “We need a shot in the arm. We need something to get this place going. We’re hoping these state of the art athletic facilities will get kids interested in coming to Glenn; get them on campus and hopefully get he or she to come to school here.”

 

 

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