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By Paul Losch

Gymnasiums Needed

Uploaded: Jun 7, 2009

Every time I drive by the long ago closed ARCO gas station that adjoins the Winter Park Skating Rink, I see a gymnasium.

Too many who are into indoor sport activity such as basketball and volleyball have to go out of town to play.

I think some creative thinking is needed to expand gym space in Palo Alto for community purposes.

I perceive that the School Board and Superintendent Kevin Skelley have open minds about how gym space could be developed that not only serves our kids during the school times, but can serve oftentimes the same kids or their parents at times when school district needs are not in conflict. Now is the time to think that through, as the bond measure that passed in 2008 provides a great deal of funding for schools throughout town.

I perceive a number of properties, mainly churches, that are underutilized. This is not a judgmental comment on my part, one way or the other. But it does conjure up the notion from a community standpoint if there is a greater good if certain parcels became gymnasiums rather than languish in their current capacities.

There is a bit of good news on this gym front. The JCC complex under construction at Charleston and San Antonio includes some gym space that will be available to Palo Altans in general will have available. Also, once the JCC is operational, some gym space at Cubberley which they control will revert to the city's Community Services Department for general public use. These are encouraging developments, but insufficient to address the demand that's out there.

Even in this current environment, I think it is possible to identify private/public partnership arrangements that can create new gym space for Palo Altans. It does call for major creative thinking.