EL DORADO HILLS — Oak Ridge High unveiled its exciting new athletic additions Monday, underscoring the school’s vision to be a premiere high school in California.
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The $4 million athletic renovation to its gym, weight and wrestling rooms are just one component of that larger goal.
“To be ‘the best in class’ there are four pillars of excellence we need to achieve: academic, athletic, programmatic and staff,” said Trojan Principal Paul Burke, who delivered the presentation to the community at Monday’s Campaign for Excellence Celebration.
As the Oak Ridge choir sang the National Anthem in the newly renovated gym, the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ rang out when the new drop-down American flag descended from the rafters.
Burke thanked taxpayers for the Measure Q funds, which financed the bulk of the project, as well as district leadership for allocating the funds. He introduced superintendent Chris Hoffman, his predecessor Steve Wehr, the Oak Ridge High School Foundation board of directors, athletic director Steve White, as well as others he saw as instrumental in making the renovation occur, and ahead of schedule by a month.
Burke praised the foundation that raised over $400,000 for the project, an amount that paid for all the amenities.
Spectator capacity doubled from 800 to 1,600 square feet and with new expanded bleachers. The entire student body, estimated at 2,400, may now attend pep rallies/assemblies at the same time
A bumped-out wall will be a designated student section. The court is now tournament/collegiate size and can fit three volleyball courts at one time.
“Now we just need to name it,” ORHS Foundation Secretary Phil Peacock. “It’s going to be intimidating for the other team when they see all those students right there sitting just behind the basket.”
Additionally, there’s a new state of the art scoreboard with video screen for playbacks and special announcements, which students can train in via multimedia electives; and overhead is a tournament wrestling mat hoist.
El Dorado Hills resident Carey Thompson owns Clarity AVL, the company which installed a new sound system and projector for watching movies and Power Point presentations.
“It makes it more than a gym,” she said.
The renovated gym also boasts a new visitor entrance/lobby, new upper deck congregation area to watch games/tournaments and a new Trojan Walk of Fame — brick walkway.
The small gym used for physical educational classes and sports practices also received a new parquet floor, fresh paint and protective mats along the walls.
Besides several employees having to work to the sound of jack hammers for six months, Principal Burke gave special thanks to the girls’ volleyball team that played its ‘home’ games at rival Ponderosa’s gym, Bruin Principal Lisa Garrett, and David Roth, Superintendent of the Buckeye School District.
Expanded from its original 500 square feet to 5,000, White called it “The Taj Mahal of wrestling rooms.”
“To have one entire building designated for our wrestling program is almost unbelievable,” said Burke of the 50-by-100 foot facility.
Trojan wrestling head coach Casey Rhyan echoed that statement when he added, “We are very lucky. If you go around the state you’d see this is unique. For one thing we have our own room devoted exclusively to wrestling and it’s a really nice size. Some college campuses don’t even have their own wrestling rooms of this caliber.”
Senior Sherman McVay isn’t sad the wrestling room was built but proud to say he’s from its first graduating class. Plus, “It’s really nice we have our own ‘Big Boy Corner’ and buffer mats,” he said. “And I don’t need a tank a gas a week to go to practice.”
Junior Patrick Irwin said, “It’s huge! Last year we were banging into each other.”
Also known as the Trojan Performance Center, it’s an impressive 2,200 square feet boasting 16 state of the art weight lifting stations.
“There’s also a 60-percent increase in floor space, but 100-percent increase in workable strength and conditioning stations,” Peacock said.
The weight room can now support new freshmen health and fitness classes as well as the ability to have full teams perform strength and conditioning programs at the same time in one room.
21st Century High School
“These new facilities are truly something our community can be proud of,” said Burke. “What is even more exciting is that these facilities are just one step in our very exciting vision for Oak Ridge in the 21st century.”
Besides amenities for the gym and other sports facilities, Burke noted the foundation also purchased over 80 tablets computers for student use. “The foundation has been a tremendous support to the programs, students and staff at Oak Ridge.”
The Oak Ridge High School Foundation is reaching out to the community for more support, currently holding a Buy a Brick campaign. Individuals wanting to donate and have an engraved brick added to the Walk of Fame can download an order from the Foundation website orhsfoundation.com.
“The gym expansion, building of the wrestling facility and creation of the Trojan Performance Training Center are more examples of the standard of excellence that permeates through El Dorado Union High School District and Oak Ridge High School,” said Burke. “This is yet another excellent example of how all of our school stakeholders have worked together to provide the very best facilities for our students.”