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After-School Classes Still Lack Facility

September 06, 2000|WONSUN CHOI

Rancho Simi Recreation and Park officials thought a shuttered children's museum in town would offer the solution to their space crunch for before- and after-school programs.

But it turns out park officials didn't have nearly enough money to clinch the deal.

So park officials are considering their options.

"We're looking at a lot of other sites but there isn't a lot of space in Simi Valley where the rents are low," said Al Church, general manager of the park district. "In the summer, we were having to turn away some kids."

The children's museum building could have offered enough room for dance and gymnastics classes, two programs bursting at the seams, officials said, but it would have cost $100,000 just to remodel the building.

Another option is to build a new facility, but parks officials said there won't be money for that until 2003 or 2004.

As a last resort, Church said the district may use portable buildings at some campuses or on park sites.

Competing for space are events booked at park facilities such as weddings, bar mitzvahs and quinceaneras--traditional birthday parties for Latinas turning 15. Almost every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Rancho Santa Susana Community Center is booked for weddings.

Church said these events fortify the district's revenue.

"This is one way we can raise money to pay for the building plans," Church said.

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