East County Sports

Valhalla, Julian latest to upgrade


By Nick Pellegrino

RANCHO SAN DIEGO – Years following the passing of a bond initiative to upgrade school facilities, more and more projects are being completed at Grossmont Union High School District schools.

Once forced to update Helix High’s Caledonia Gymnasium because of a severely leaking roof and safety issues regarding its repair, other schools opened their respective hand for part of the money sitting since 2004 for upgrades in the athletics department.

The most recent opening is at Valhalla High, which installed customized equipment in a new weight room.

The new weight room is part of the multi-million dollar renovation of our athletic facilities which is funded by a bond passed several years ago.

When San Diego State updated its athletics facilities in August 2001 – including the completion of Tony Gwynn Stadium, Viejas Arena, and the SDSU Sports Deck. –  the weight room included new weights bearing the school’s name engraved on each weight. Now, the Norsemen are proud to have their name listed in a similar fashion on their equipment.

“Our new weight room will consist of a new facility with high-quality equipment made to last,” said Valhalla athletic director Steve Bulette. “Samson Weight Equipment is the company which will be outfitting the new room. Samson has provided weight rooms for several NFL and MLB teams as well as several universities.”

The result will leave many colleges and universities envious.

“Their product is of much higher quality than most other vendors and is built to last,” he added. “They also provide school branding on their rack systems and weights, creating a professional, spirited environment, giving students something to be proud of.”

“We are excited for our student-athletes and what the new facilities bring to athletics at Valhalla High School.”

On the mountain

Other schools are also receiving athletic department face-lifts, but the most pronounced may be at Julian Union High School.

Dating back to at least the 1939-40 season, when Eagles basketball legend Bud Farmer, a 5-foot-7 junior forward, led San Diego County in scoring.

PICTURE of Farmer: http://www.partletonsports.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/3940julianfarmer05181820180520_15433125.jpg

According to the San Diego Prep Sports History website, “Farmer’s total for the season was believed to be an all-time County record.”

Although Julian has played in the pre-World War II era gymnasium for more than 75 years, including a 40-foot ceiling, it was erected with a series of steel beams in the rafters to support the roof, making the usable height just 18 feet – talk about a home-court advantage for the Eagles’ volleyball team.

The renovated gymnasium will now meet current high school height regulations, although the floor to so narrow, a 3-point shot can not be taken from the corner without the shooter being out-of-bounds.

Julian’s campus also features a Science building renovation which was more than an aesthetic upgrade. After multiple building investigations, it was discovered that the science building had severe construction defects, making the building unsafe for students and faculty, according to Lusardi Construction Company.

The science building needed to be completely demolished and reconstructed into a single-story building. The new 9,000 square-foot science wing includes classrooms, a teachers’ workroom, and a distance learning technology lab.

Julian’s existing theater was salvaged but required an extensive amount of rehabilitation to the structure including new footings, steel columns, and ceiling framing.

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