Until recently, 650 area kids playing in the Tustin NJB (National Junior Basketball Organization) had to practice outdoors wherever they could find an empty court. Thanks to the new Santiago Canyon College Athletics and Aquatics Complex in East Orange, scrambling for practice time is a thing of the past.
The 72,200-square-foot Athletics and Aquatics Center can accommodate six of the NJBs 70 teams every hour, which ensures on-schedule practice, says NJB president Dan Fuentes. Prior to using the Center, we were desperately searching for practice time, says Fuentes of the volunteer organization that offers local kindergartners through eighth graders the opportunity to play. We had to work around rain, and many of the courts are not well lit at night. The center allows us to practice indoors in a spacious setting.
The NJB is just one of many community groups that can avail themselves of the multi-functional facility, says Martin Stringer, Athletic Director for Santiago Canyon College, which opened its doors in fall 1985 and currently has 11,000 students. The Center is open to the general public, including individuals, who for a nominal fee can use the state-of-the-art equipment to benefit their health and fitness needs. We have staff on hand to help, who are all experts in the arena of exercise science.
The facility, which cost $19.5 million, includes a swimming pool, three indoor basketball courts, locker rooms, a fitness center, a strength lab and training facilities. The Center was made possible from funding through the 2002 Measure E bond, says Santiago Canyon College President Juan Vázquez. In addition to opening our doors wider to the community, the facility will afford us the opportunity to grow the exercise science and kinesiology department for our students, he says.
The Athletics and Aquatics Center, which is expected to open for classes this spring, is a welcome change for the athletics department, which has been operating out of portable buildings for the last 10 years, says Stringer. The Center will offer a more suitable venue for the colleges eight sports teams, including womens soccer, which is currently the number two womens soccer team in the nation.
Students are equally excited about the facility, says Rachel Ann Bulosan, president of the Santiago Canyon College Associated Student Government (ASG). We have many basketball lovers, gym-goers, swimmers and active students on campus, so the new facility has been a hot topic amongst the students, she says. The complex will open the college up to more opportunities for sports teams and promote physical health throughout the student body. It is also good to know that our amazing faculty and staff will have better facilities in which to teach.
For information about using the Athletics and Aquatics Complex, please contact Martin Stringer at Stringer_Martin@sccollege.edu, or 714-628-4816.
Published in the Jan/Feb 2013 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review
Written by Julie Bawden-Davis, Photographs provided by Santiago Community College
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