Compton scores with new gymnasium

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Facility will allow expansion of community programs.

Anita DeFrantz, president of LA84 Foundation, assists Kristen Ross, Destiny Johnson and Felix Haro in the ribbon cutting. Lt. Colonels Victor and Rose Marie Leslie, divisional officers, witness the event.

During a ceremony with local media present, The Salvation Army’s Compton Corps officially opened the doors of its newly renovated gymnasium. The celebration marked the completion of a $200,000 project that began in early 2008.

Corps Officer Capt. Martin Ross, director of the facility, commented: “We will have a first-class facility for first-class people. We are very happy to be able to do our part for the city’s ‘rebirth of Compton’ effort. We hope the community will take advantage of our new gymnasium and our basketball and soccer programs.”

The gym had been open for 30 years—an outreach to the community to come together, overlook differences and have fun. During that time, it was a favorite place for local youth who wanted to participate in its athletic programs.

However, the gym that once was a magnet for the community began to show signs of wear and tear. Suspended ceiling tiles were in poor condition and often broken by wayward soccer balls. The outdated lighting was insufficient and the skylights were dirty and stained. According to Chris Bates, sports outreach director, the atmosphere of the building was “…gloomy. Everything was looking very old and shabby. The programs faltered and the gym began to need work. We decided last year to revitalize our athletic program, and we knew we had to make improvements.”

Thanks to the Shaun Livingston and LA84 foundations, funding for the project was realized. “The floor is the same design used by the Lakers, Clippers and Chicago Bulls,” Bates said. “It’s a professional quality floor.” The Pacific Floor Company provided artwork for the project.

Special guests at the grand re-opening included Lt. Colonels Victor and Rose Marie Leslie, divisional leaders; Isadore Hall, III, state assemblyman; Anita De Frantz, president of the LA 84 Foundation; and Rachel Seward of the Shaun Livingston Foundation.

Mobile cameras from FOX and ABC were on board to cover the event.

Submitted by Buffy Lincoln. Some information in this report is from an earlier article in The Compton Bulletin by Cheryl Scott.

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