Players raise the money themselves, provide much of the labor and all ongoing maintenance
October 21, 2013 Rolling Hills Estates—Young athletes don’t usually pay much attention to the aesthetics of the place they hang their jerseys and sweaty socks. But at Peninsula High School, the broken-down lockers and dismal conditions of the 50-year old locker room became so bad the players usually opted to dress in the school parking lot.
“The facilities hadn’t received much attention since they were built,” comments Mike Christenson, hired on as the school’s football coach last spring. He envisioned a complete overhaul, completed in time for the team’s senior players to enjoy. To expedite the plan, Christensen and his team took matters into their own hands. When the project was announced, the entire community immediately pitched in, from school parents to local businesses and even supporters outside the state.
Within six months they had raised enough money to fund a dramatic makeover. Local vendors including Peterson Lumber and Closet Factory Los Angeles provided design expertise and materials. Donors also supplied a new stereo system and speakers.
The 1960s-era room was completely gutted of its dilapidated metal lockers and ruined carpet. It was treated to a complete makeover that included a resurfaced concrete floor, custom professional-style open lockers, giant beveled mirrors, new flooring and new paint, all in Panther colors of black and gold.
“The school needed a design that would maximize the space and fit as many lockers as possible,” comments Kathryn La Barbera, VP and designer at Closet Factory. “We kept the main sections open, with a small lockable cabinet at the bottom. The result is super sleek and modern, but durable.
“We were thrilled to take part,” La Barbera continues. “It was exciting to see how quickly it all came together.”
To keep things looking great, Christensen set up an endowment for maintenance costs, funded with commemorative plaques that sell for $500 each. “Families like the idea of their grandchildren someday entering high school and seeing their family name in the locker room,” Christensen says.
Crowds of players, parents and boosters attended a dedication earlier this month to celebrate the stunning results. Members of the football team proffered refreshments, gave tours and posed for photos as Coach Christensen described how the team, parents and entire school got behind the effort. “With the help of many we cleared out the space and had a blank canvas to work with,” he said. “The kids needed to have something they could have pride in, and the parents and supporters could actually see how their money was being spent.”
The team raised money through car washes, letter campaigns and a major “Lift-a-thon” that garnered sponsorships from as far away as Jamaica. “Every single penny went into this locker room,” Christensen says.
Other sports team on campus and even from other schools have been inspired by Peninsula HS football’s refurbished locker room and are working towards similar improvements of their own.