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Theft, vandalism at Oak Ridge’s new and improved ball field

By July 10, 2014

Unknown perpetrators stole speakers and vandalized Oak Ridge’s varsity baseball field in the days leading up to July 4.

“This is a kick in the gut to the progress made this past year,” said volunteer baseball parent Liz Davis. “Our coach (Todd Melton) is working with ORHS staff and the Sheriff’s Department, which has started a criminal investigation. It is our intent to prosecute any suspect that is apprehended.”

There were signs something wasn’t right at the end of baseball season in late May, Davis said, and by early June the ORHS maintenance facility manager reported an announcer’s booth and snack bar break-in.

“They stole some candy and hand-painted baseball vases in the announcer’s booths, but we just chalked it up to kid stuff,” said Davis.

Davis said she’s since learned vandals broke into Jeff Mitchell field twice in June. “Obviously kids are out of school with too much time on their hands and parents aren’t paying attention to where they are,” she said.

When Melton went to the field July 3 he saw the announcer’s booth and snack bar were broken into again, but this time the perpetrator(s) used power tools to remove a door that houses expensive equipment, including a PA system.

“We know that they crawled up the backstop because there were footprints,” said Davis. “They cut the wires on the speakers and took two of them.”

The baseball families held their own capital improvement campaign and raised close to $100,000 in the past few years according to Davis. This incident will set them back approximately $10,000.

“We did an amazing job raising money to improve our baseball field beyond anything I’ve ever seen,” she said. “One of the last things we did was install a PA system to announce the kids’ names. H& D Electric graciously donated and installed the system and the speakers had just been installed in March.

“It’s almost like we took that money and burned it,” she continued. “H&D Electric was so generous and then we didn’t even have it for three months. It’s crushing.”

The biggest improvement was a new backstop, which cost $80,000 alone. The funds were also used to build a brand new retaining wall and powder coated fencing.

“It was all completed in the nick of time for the (2014) season to start,” said Davis. Families also donated supplies and countless hours repainting structures and sprucing up the JV and varsity fields.

Davis said it’s too soon to know next steps but said the Sheriff’s Department recommends security cameras/monitors. “First and foremost we need to stop this from happening again, but for sure we need speakers,” said Davis. “Whether we permanently install them again or take them in and out after each game is the question.”

If you have any information contact the Sheriff’s Department or leave a message on the Oak Ridge High School Baseball Club page on Facebook.

Julie Samrick

Discussion | 14 comments

  • elizabethJuly 10, 2014 - 9:05 pm

    Seriously parents, where are your kids at night. Stop being a friend and be a parent.

  • OR ParentJuly 11, 2014 - 1:45 pm

    Whoa, $80,000 for a backstop? That would have paid for over 250 Chromebooks for students to use the classroom. The vandalism is appalling, but $80,000 for a backstop at a high school baseball field is, too!

  • TooncesJuly 11, 2014 - 1:49 pm

    Stop making sense.

  • MarkJuly 15, 2014 - 9:03 am

    OR Parent, The school didn't buy the backstop, parents, volunteers and supporting businesses did. Your comments are misguided and totally without merit. Parents, volunteers and the the players raised the money, negotiated with local businesses to help with the improvements and painted and repaired the baseball facilities themselves. Many of these same parents also spent years forking out their own money and time to help raise money to upgrade the school facilities just completed earlier this year. I suggest if you want students to have Chromebooks, quit complaining and either start your own fundraising campaign or just go out and buy your kid one. So before making ridiculous comments, do your homework next time...on your new Chromebook.

  • TooncesJuly 11, 2014 - 1:48 pm

    My neighbors, who let there kids roam the neighborhood at night, act like they are just happy to have them out of the house and don't accept responsibility for their actions when they get caught vandalizing the neighborhood by security.

  • ElizabethJuly 15, 2014 - 11:27 am

    Well said Mark. Each family has things that are a priority. For some, it is sporting equipment, others it is classroom enhancements. If you want something that will benefits your kids, go out and fight for it. Do not complain about those that do. I have spent many hours and money fund raising for what is important to my kids. If you would like to have a Chromebook for your kid, go out to the baseball/football games and collect recyclables. I bet you would have a new one in now time.

  • OR ParentJuly 22, 2014 - 11:42 am

    That's cool. You certainly get to choose your priorities. Meanwhile Folsom, Granite Bay, and Vista del Lago all have have higher average SAT scores than OR. The US News high school ranking has OR ranked 120-something in the state (GB is in the 60's), and our local grade schoolers have better access to EdTech and teachers better trained in EdTech than OR students have. Yes, I'm involved. Yes, I donate money and time. Yes, my kids play sports. And, yes, I still prioritize education over a new gym, new wrestling room, and new backstop - no matter how they get paid for.

  • Mark 2July 23, 2014 - 9:47 am

    I don't think it is an academic vs athletics debate worth having. We should try to strive for excellence in all areas and not one at the expense of others. The baseball and softball fields have long been neglected by the district and the school in terms of investments and the parents involved are trying to make a difference and when vandalism and theft occurs, we should all stand together against it. I am not sure why this turned into such a debate. The school, the district and the OR Foundation along with the parents have all invested heavily to push for excellence in all areas, from music, to academics to athletics and should continue to do so. For example, the Foundation purchased tablets for 8 class rooms and piloted the program for the district (at our cost not the districts) and as a result, the district will now be purchasing 500 chrome books for ORHS to implement. OR Parent, if you wish to discuss, I would be happy to discuss the opportunities to improve ORHS in a productive manner and find areas in which you are passionate about to help push for excellence in those areas. That is how we will make ORHS the best we possibly can. Furthermore, I think your information if wrong in some areas. OR is ranked 119 in the state versus 91, 175 and 165 for GB, Folsom and Vista. And for SAT scores, the difference between ORHS, Folsom and Vista is insignificant (1657, 1673, 1667 respectively). Would we all like to be better, yes! I am guessing you do not place academics above your child's character. You demand excellence in both areas. Then why can we not strive for excellence in all areas at ORHS

  • Mark 2July 23, 2014 - 10:10 am

    Furthermore, being ranked #119 makes ORHS in the top 6% of all high schools in CA.

  • OR ParentJuly 23, 2014 - 3:28 pm

    Why the discussion? Because of the heavy weighting of expenditures on athletic facilities versus academic at OR. As long as we're quoting numbers, per the OR Foundation web site, since 2009 $280,000 of Foundation $ has gone towards various athletic facilities ($360,000 if the backstop is included) versus $151,000 towards various tech programs and teacher grants and $30,000 towards music. Going back further to 2003, the Foundation site delineates athletic expenditures of well over $1 million while academic expenditures remain as outlined above. Sorry, this seems incredibly unbalanced to me, very heavily weighted towards sports, and NOT at all geared towards "excellence in all areas." Sorry if you find this perspective "ridiculous," not "productive," or somehow a reflective of what I want in my "child's character." And let's be honest, last year's tablet program was largely a failure, thus the shift to Chromebooks this year.

  • Mark 2July 24, 2014 - 11:16 am

    OR Parent. The tablet program was a pilot to work out the bugs of what is best. Without it, the district would not be ready to fund the Chromebooks program. This was not a failure but got ORHS on the leading edge. . As I have heard, you can always tell who the leaders are by the arrows in their backs. The money for baseball did NOT come from the Foundation and if you knew what the foundation was working on regarding the academic side, you would have a different perspective and be excited about the direction it is headed, but it takes time and money to make the change we are talking about. I invite you to get involved. I do not mean to offend and cannot talk about 2003. We have a new principle, a new Foundation and if the foundation did not help with the new Gym (paid for by the measure Q funds intended for facilities), we would have an empty training facility and wrestling room). Furthermore, the training facility will be used by all students and there will be a program to help the kids become more active as well as understand nutrition so we can address the increasing trend of childhood obesity. You see, school is not just about grades and SAT scores, although I think we would all agree those are important. But Chromebooks in and of themselves will not make smarter kids. That starts at home. But as I have suggested and was suggested above, I'd love to see your passion poured into the area of need you prioritize and help make change and progress in those areas...what better lesson can you provide your child...BTW - I am not suggesting you don't volunteer and don't provide a great example but would love to see your passion translated to change the helps our kids.

  • LizJuly 23, 2014 - 4:54 pm

    OR Parent - Life is about choices....If you disagree with the way a school is running, do something about it. Sitting in judgement behind a keyboard beneifts no one. As the parent of OR athletes (and 4.0 students), I have been to the schools you have mentioned and have seen their facilities. Ours needed improvements. OR was built with a smaller population in mind. In some cases (the gym), improvments needed to be done to accomodate the student body, not just the sporting teams. This year was the first year that they could host a rally indoors and provide seating for all students. In the past, wrestlers had to be cut becuase their room was not large enough to accomodate the students. While I agree that education comes before athletics, my kids have been coached by coaches who reiterate the same message. What is wrong with that? I truly beleive that sports teach kids discipline that can carry over into their adult lives. It teaches teamwork and life skills. As I look at the calendar and see that I will be sitting at Folsom for a football game this year, I will think wow, what could they have done with the money they spent on the pretty blue field and the inflatable bull dog. Please feel free to reach out to them.

  • LizJuly 23, 2014 - 7:25 pm

    I did a search of top schools in California. Schooldigger.com shows that Oak Ridge is in the top 100 while Vista, Folsom and GB are not. This appears to be based on Star testing vs. the SATs. The main difference I see here is that every student takes the Star test, not all students take the SAT's. It would be hard to compare apples to apples without knowing how many students took the SATs.

  • LizJuly 23, 2014 - 7:31 pm

    Did another search and US News came out with national rankings. Granite Bay is 438 OR is 577 Folsom 863 Vista 817



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