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Softball fields get overdue makeovers

Complaint filed in 2007 said facilities were unequal to those of male sports

Posted: March 21, 2009 12:18 a.m.
Updated: March 21, 2009 4:55 a.m.

The William S. Hart Union High School District plans to spruce up the softball fields at Canyon, Hart and Saugus high schools by adding new scoreboards, public-address systems, concession stands and upgraded dugouts, a district official said Friday.

 
The William S. Hart Union High School District plans to spruce up the softball fields at Canyon, Hart and Saugus high schools by adding new scoreboards, public-address systems, concession stands and upgraded dugouts, a district official said Friday.

The move follows a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, in December 2007.

The complaint claimed that the Saugus High School softball field is inaccessible to students with disabilities and that the athletic programs at Saugus, Hart and Canyon high schools do not provide locker rooms and fields that are equal for female and male athletes.

Officials from the Office for Civil Rights conducted an investigation at the three high schools in 2008, checking competition fields, locker rooms and equal opportunities for boys and girls.

"The Office (for) Civil Rights found no problems in those areas whatsoever," said Rob Gapper, chief operations officer for the Hart district.

The office's analysis, however, found a need for new scoreboards, public-address systems, concession stands and dugout improvements in the form of shades and coverings for students, Gapper said.

Upgrades for Hart High School's fields will be made at Newhall Park, since that's where the school's softball program plays, Gapper said.

The core of the funding for the $377,800 project will come from school bond Measure V.

The projects must be completed within a year.

Saugus High School is in line to receive a scoreboard, which will add to the overall softball game experience, said Principal Bill Bolde.

The improved softball facilities will become a source of pride for Canyon High School students, Principal Bob Messina said.

"They're just going to really enjoy the fact that it's going to look more like a first-class facility," Messina said.

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