Community benefits from Don Christopher Sports Complex

Dear City of Gilroy Community,
On behalf of the Don Christopher Sports Complex Committee, we would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge many of the issues raised about the proposed project over the past few weeks and help clarify why we are trying to make this sports complex a reality for not only Christopher High School, but for the Gilroy community as a whole.
First, please note that our committee recognizes the economic climate we are in. It’s challenging to say the least.  While Proposition 30 passed and our schools have more money, we understand that many are questioning the timing for proposing a $4.25 million stadium. It’s quite simple. We’re trying to capitalize on a very generous $1 million dollar donation from Mr. and Mrs. Don Christopher.
It’s no secret how much the Christopher’s have done for CHS, as well as our whole community.  This donation translates into 25% off the cost of the sports complex, and Mr. Christopher has asked that his contribution to the project be matched.  This is a unique opportunity and it should be taken very seriously.
As you might know, our committee recently made a presentation to the Gilroy Unified School District Board. We asked for their support and they’re currently evaluating our funding request along with all of the other district priorities. During the meeting, the School Board indicated that our project was a catalyst to start the third round of establishing the district’s facilities priorities for the upcoming year and beyond.  Having said that, an area we would like to clarify is that the funding we’re asking for to get this project off the ground is from Measure P.
For those who aren’t familiar with this bond, here’s brief summary:
“Measure P is a general obligation bond on the Nov. 4, 2008 ballot, authorizing $150 million for school improvements for each of our District schools. The passage of Measure P will allow the District to be eligible to receive state matching funds to repair, modernize and upgrade classrooms throughout the District, as available.”
You can find our more information by visiting the FAQ site at
The important thing to point out here is the Measure P funds can only be used for facilities related projects, not schoolbooks, teacher salaries or anything else along these lines.
As a follow-up to the school board meeting on Nov. 1, we were asked to meet with the City of Gilroy to discuss their level of participation in a venue such as the one we’re proposing. The current city officials were very gracious in hearing our plan for the complex, but they’re in a state of post-election transition. We’re planning on having a meeting with the incoming mayor, Don Gage, after the holidays.
It’s a known fact the fields at CHS are in terrible shape and our student athletes are incurring injuries as a result. A sports complex that benefits every student athlete regardless of his or her sport should have been prioritized while CHS was being built.  Many of the school officials realize the mistake of not figuring out how to preserve the field project, but it’s always easier said than done when you’re looking in the rear view mirror.  Most everyone recognizes good money is being thrown at bad money given the recurring repair maintenance costs.   This is a trend we have to reverse.
A significant issue that is often overlooked is the amount of wear and tear the Gilroy High School facility is being subjected to. Without question, the pressure this field is experiencing needs to be balanced. College teams are playing on the field as well as Pop Warner football, youth soccer, CHS and the list goes on.  The field can’t take much more without significant costs for reconditioning.  Gilroy High School has been extremely supportive in our efforts to bring a stadium to CHS for this reason alone.   
In the end, we’re a group of six fathers who formed a committee to try and make a dream of having a sports complex for CHS and the community a reality.  We’re all invested in the Gilroy community and we’ve raised our families here. We support and are involved in our public school system.   
Our backgrounds are very diverse and range from high technology, law enforcement, small business owners and construction management. Our approach to building a humble complex starts inside with synthetic turf, a track, lights and bleachers. We’re 100% confident the benefits of a second venue in Gilroy far outweigh the costs.   
We would like to wish you and your families a very happy holiday season!
The Don Christopher Sports Complex Committee: Larry Sanford, George Sammut, Russ Pacheco, Jim Rhodes, Gerold Zimmerman and Randy Moen

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