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Stadium Project Would Make El Toro More Competitive, Boost Economy

Students are opting to attend other area schools with better athletic facilities, Jeff Frum writes.

Jeff Frum, a Lake Forest resident, sent Lake Forest Patch the following letter to the editor:

My name is Jeff Frum and my wife and I have 6 children - my two oldest sons recently graduated from ET and both played football, my daughter is a junior at ET, I have a son at Serrano and two adopted sons at Portola Hills Elementary where my wife and I have led the Olympic Dayfundraiser for the past 10 years raising over $400,000 for the school.

I am a former President of the ET Football Boosters and have 8 years’ experience coaching Pop Warner youth football in Lake Forest.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to voice my support of the El Toro Bleacher and Lighting Improvement Project.

I offer you a glimpse into the logistics of “Game Days” for Football at TH:

  • Access to Trabuco is restricted during the school week and on game days until all school activities have concluded or when Trabuco employees are available to assist often requiring volunteers to scramble to set up before crowds arrive.
  • Our Snack bar needs to be set up and broken down EACH week transporting hundreds of pounds of drinks, ice, food, and equipment including tables, tents and lighting. Storage during the week at Trabuco is limited and not secure.
  • Our boys require a team room to dress out for games and to huddle at half-time and aftergames. The options for a team room at our “Home” field consist of an unsecured girl’s lockerroom or a grossly neglected portable.
  • A minimum of 8 district school buses are required to transport the football team, cheerleaders, and marching band EACH week requiring earlier dismissal from school and the commitment of parent volunteers to leave work early to set up the stadium for our “Home” games.

Competitiveness

  • I have had dozens of conversations with families whose sons I’ve coached in Pop Warner when presented with a choice in our open school district many choose TH, MV or LH because of their facilities. The dream of every young player is to be a star under the Friday night lights ON their high school campus.
  • My youth football players HAVE been exposed to Friday nights at Trabuco for El Toro “Home” games and it’s pretty clear the temporary feeling you get as visitors at our home field.

Economic Impact

  • Home games at El Toro would increase traffic at Lake Forest’s restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores increasing tax revenue for our great city.
  • I would think, that investing redevelopment funds to upgrade El Toro would favorably impact operating budgets at the district, El Toro, AND with families as we would eliminate unnecessary bus rentals, fuel costs, reduce emissions from those buses and our cars, while positively impacting productivity for the hundreds of affected families of El Toro students.

In conclusion I would like to emphasize that the future of our great city IS our children. Our focus SHOULD be about investing in the next generation and I applaud SVUSD for offering up this bleacher and lighting improvement project. It is a worthy investment into keeping our neighborhoods vibrant and I strongly encourage you to communicate your support for this project. El Toro IS the only high school of the ten public schools in South County without lights and this project would bring our Chargers into competitive balance for years to come. Thank You!

samclarkdirect.com September 09, 2012 at 04:08 AM
I agree the children are our future.
Cindy Piel September 10, 2012 at 05:57 AM
Well said Jeff! My younger brother and I are both ETHS graduates, my eldest is a junior this year and plays lacrosse, and my youngest will be there in 2 years (just started Serrano). I would love to see this project happen. It may be too late for my older son to benefit from it, but it would be a wonderful thing for future ETHS students and our city. I know there is a Board of Education meeting this Tuesday night and I hope that people come out to support this project.
Bruce Thew September 11, 2012 at 05:04 AM
I would have to say Jeff that this does not sound like SHARING to me. So if we can't get the home stadium then we need to start getting some Sharing going on; practice time during the school year at night as well as during the summer, say Wednesday night, for all sport, (I’m including band in that time) also make Trabuco move they STUFF out of the locker rooms and concession stands so that we can use those facility’s. Trabuco can come over and use our/their field at EL TORO for their practices on Wednesday; it only takes a few busses or their own cars to get there. As for practices or games at the same time, Trabuco could walk down the street to Del Lago Elementary and use their fields, like our kids have to do at Serrano Jr. High. So Trabuco people this really does affect you too!

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