Last year, plans were in place for the construction of a team room for the use of all female sports, estimated to be completed during the spring season. Title IX prompted the construction of this facility due to its demands for gender equality in any federally funded education program or activity.
“We are constructing a building for [female] athletics, where they have a place to change and [prepare] for their games,” Athletic Director and physical education teacher Jason Murphy said.
The decision process of the female team room began with the Sweetwater Union High School District when it came to their attention that the male athletes at Bonita Vista High School have a team room and females do not. Title IX is the equal opportunity to play sports, equal benefits and treatment in school sports programs and prohibition of retaliation when making a complaint about inequality. Under Title IX, the female athletes were entitled to a team room of their own.
“We are trying to catch up to make sure that the girls get just as much stuff as the guys,” Murphy said.
The team room will be located behind the dance room due to its accessibility to the locker room. It will not be used for athletes to store their belongings all year round or for team equipment since each team has their own separate storage area.
“It is designed for our female athletes to use it during their season and then vacate it when their season is finished allowing the next season of teams to move in,” Assistant Principal Ronne Pietila said.
According to Pietila, the team room will include 176 lockers, four coach offices, whiteboards, a television and a space that will allow for teams to meet. It will only be used for athletes that are in season and will not be available for students who would like to use the room as a place to change for P.E. class.
“It’s going to be a big huge locker room where girls can store their stuff. There should be lockers surrounding the building and then there will be benches down the middle where you can sit and get dressed,” Murphy said.
According to senior co-captain of girls varsity soccer Natalya “Tallly” Romaine, the team room will also save time in preparation for games.
“The whole team can assemble and pump each other up for the game. Also, we save time because we don’t have to go home [before a game],” Romaine said.
The coach of any team that will use the room is responsible for their supervision. Construction of the team room began over Thanksgiving break, and further construction is planned to be worked on over Winter break. For the construction, the school contracted Larry Moen, the project manager of SUHSD planning and construction department, but he was unavailable for comment.
“It gives them [female athletes] their own sense that ‘we have a place to get dressed also, we are just as important as the guys when it comes to athletics,’’’ Murphy said. “It gives them a safe place to change, and it’s just nicer.”