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Del Oro to go dark in July

Cost-saving two-week shutdown forces local groups to scramble
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Community groups are scrambling after learning they will be kicked off the Del Oro High School campus for two weeks in July. Doug Marquand, Placer Union High School District assistant superintendent, said all six high school campuses and district office will “go dark” and no facilities will be available for groups during that time. He said all staff members will be required to take vacation. Marquand expects closures to save approximately $80,000 in utility costs, and Del Oro accounts for $28,000 or 35 percent. He said air conditioners and interior lights will be off, although security systems will remain functioning. During summer, the Del Oro campus is a hive of activity with local youth participating in sports camps, swim lessons, swim team and water polo programs. Soccer teams utilize the grassy fields, and functions are held in the performing arts center. Many school sports teams use the facilities for training. According to Marquand, the campus has traditionally “gone dark” during the last week of July, but groups were still allowed to use the campus facilities. The closure forces the Loomis Basin Dolphins swim team to move and pay rent at Sierra College during the last two weeks of their season. The Town of Loomis will have to eliminate two weeks of swim lessons and free public swimming. Pat Brechtel, Dolphins president, said, “It’s ridiculous to close the facilities. The district is kicking out the ones who pay. I don’t understand why they can’t allow the groups who use the outdoor facilities to remain on campus.” According to Brechtel, last year the Dolphins paid the school district $18,000 for pool rental. He said team volunteers clean the pool restrooms and empty trash. “They still have to have someone on campus to maintain the facilities and the pool chemicals,” Brechtel added. Marquand said the Dolphins and the town each rent the facilities for approximately $1,500 to $2,000 per week. Denean Swenson, of Loomis, is a volunteer who worked with the town last year to restart swim lessons and free community swimming. She said she is “frustrated and disappointed” by the closure. “It means a lot to the community to have swim lessons here and have the pool open for swimming. The last two weeks in July was one of our busiest sessions,” Swenson said. Loomis town councilman Walt Scherer called the campus closure “unfair to the community.” “The community built that pool and helped fund a number of Del Oro’s facilities. We supported the bond measures that paid for the campus improvements. Without our votes they never would have passed those bonds. Now the high school district is telling us we can’t use them,” Scherer said. Loomis Youth Soccer Club, Placer United Soccer Club and other sports team have been informed of the closure. Jodi Tarr, Placer United administrator, said the club will relocate to other facilities and won’t pay to use Del Oro. Pete Lugo, a select soccer coach for Loomis Youth Soccer Club, said he was unclear how closing buildings for utility savings would affect grassy fields used by soccer teams during the day. Del Oro sports teams, including cheer and football, had to reschedule camps slated during the closure. Greg Moulos, Del Oro junior football vice president, said the high school team planned a youth camp in late July that has yet to be rescheduled. “It is a big fundraiser for the football team,” Moulos said.