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3 Have Fallen Through Decrepit CVHS Bleachers

Parents' group demands that the 35-year-old wooden stadium seating be replaced.

Three people — including two students and even a Capistrano Unified school board member — have fallen through the aging wooden bleachers at Capistrano Valley High School this year.

A parent group at the high school, which serves Mission Viejo and a heavily Latino pocket from San Juan Capistrano, has sent a letter demanding that the 35-year-old football stadium stands be replaced with newer, aluminum bleachers.

“How many more people need to fall through and/or be injured while navigating the stadium before CUSD will undertake meaningful and significant steps to appropriately repair and refurbish the stadium so that it is safe,” asked the board of the CVHS Foundation in an emailed letter to Superintendent Joe Farley this week.

A request for comment from Capistrano Unified officials went unanswered.

According to the foundation, a female student fell through the steps while running the stairs during an aerobics class in May. Then, when President Gary Pritchard went to inspect the bleachers, he fell through, too, the foundation wrote in its letter.

Another student fell through during a football game last month, the foundation’s letter says.

The mother of one of the students who fell through is demanding that the district pay for her child’s injuries. The school board is expected to approve the payment of $373.84 at its next meeting, Wednesday. An agenda item says repairs have been made.

However, according to the foundation, the district used lower-quality wood.

“CUSD changed the maintenance protocol regarding stadium repairs from using kiln-dried wood to less expensive wood that was not kiln-dried,” the Nov. 7 letter says.

The group is asking that the district switch back to sturdier wood in the interim but that for the long term it make a switch to aluminum bleachers, such as the ones recently installed at San Juan Hills High.

The district does have the money, the group asserts. There’s nearly $18 million in Mello-Roos taxes that can be used only for school construction projects.

The district spent $1.65 million installing San Juan Hills' bleachers, but that did not include the cost for the stands.

“A new stadium will not only be significantly safer, it will also cost much less to maintain, a true win-win solution,” the letter says. “In sum, there is no legitimate reason why the stadium should not be promptly replaced by CUSD.”

Sarah Nordell November 10, 2012 at 01:58 AM
The bleachers are nothing compared to the radiation, DNA & cell damage caused by the two huge cell towers recently installed on the football field. https://sites.google.com/site/nocelltowerinourneighborhood/home, & http://emfsafetynetwork.org/
Patti Bout November 10, 2012 at 04:54 AM
I would like to know why Ms Arevalo pointed out that CVHS serves a "heavily Latino pocket from San Juan Capistrano" but only said "Mission Viejo". Why did she feel she had to claim ethnicity for the SJC students but not for the MV students?
Penny Arévalo November 10, 2012 at 05:24 AM
Good question! Patch has a partnership with La Opinion in which they run some Patch stories with connections to the Hispanic community in Spanish. Occasionally, we might highlight Latino connections in our community to help them identify stories they might want for their readers.
Ken Lopez November 10, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Ms. Bout, If memory serves me correctly, the boundary committee drew that portion of SJC into CVHS's service area so they would not be attending San Juan Hills (read the new high school). This is nothing new. The following is from an OC Weekly Story: Kutnick wrote, “My fourth and most important concern has to do with the quality of education that my children will NOT receive should a large number of Spanish-speaking students be transferred to Ambuehl. It is a proven fact to have a negative impact on those who [sic] students who are in school to learn in English.” The point I'm making is there was a lot of "politics" involved in drawing portions of SJC into the CVHS boundary area.
Patti Bout November 10, 2012 at 07:08 PM
thank you Penny - Makes sense then to identify a portion of the student body as Latino.

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