Harry West Gym home to new sports programs

By Cameron Mason
City Times

The Harry West Gymnasium was completed in Oct. of 2005 to accommodate indoor athletics played at San Diego City College.

The facility was built to replace a previously inadequate facility in the P building along Park Boulevard. The new gymnasium provides three regulation basketball courts, eight badminton courts, and five volleyball courts – all of which are surrounded by seating for up to 2,000 spectators.

“Having one of the largest community college facilities in the state, we have a unique opportunity to do a number of things here at Harry West,” said Athletic Director Cassie Macias. The Building, which stands at 55,000 sq ft provides offices for the athletic staff, four locker rooms, a weight room, and an indoor physical education classroom that seats forty students.

Macias started at City College as the women’s basketball coach in 1990 and after a brief stint as the Assistant Athletic Director, became the Athletic Director of the college in 1998. Since the building’s inauguration on Oct.1 2005, Macias has been instrumental in bringing intercollegiate athletics back to City College. This year alone, the men’s volleyball team had its first season at City, in addition the women’s basketball team returned, which had not had a home for over a decade.

“We anticipated the finishing of the gym would bring these programs on board. The women’s basketball team had been a long time coming and after such a successful club season at the gym for men’s volley ball in 2006, we found the interest for that program to be large enough to field a team,” said Marcias.

“Our priority for the usage of this facility, first and foremost, is our instructional programs, health and exercise science, and our own intercollegiate athletic program,” Macias answered when asked about the future of the gymnasium and uses for the facility. “We are also excited about hosting large events such as the upcoming Badminton State Championships,” which City College won last year.

The Harry West Gymnasium has in fact played host to several tournaments of late including a CIF basketball tournament game, and a National Junior College Basketball tournament over Christmas break. AAU basketball events have also been played recently, as well as ceremonies for the SDCC nursing department graduates.

The original plans for a new gymnasium were first submitted in 1990 by the Athletic Director at that time, Harry West. The state did not approve the funding. However, according to reports this hardly discouraged West in revising and pushing forward his plans. Finally in 1999, a few years after West’s retirement, the petition was approved to provide funding to construct a new facility for San Diego City College.

West’s persistence and dedication was awarded in 1993 when he was inducted into the California Community College Hall of Fame both as a coach and service contributor. He remains the only individual to be given an induction for both. Once the gymnasium was completed the board of trustees approved the name of Harry West gymnasium in honor of his contributions to the facility.

West still hosts an annual golf tournament at Steele Canyon golf course to raise money for the Harry West Scholarship. “We supplement our existing funds each year with funds generated through the golf tournament and the current budget to meet the needs of the scholarship fund,” said Macias.

The scholarship is given to two collegiate athletes each year. They are for $1,000 each and are given to students who meet academic requirements and are on path to matriculate to a four year university.

Organizing a workable schedule for all the activities at the Harry West Gymnasium has become increasingly difficult due to increased interest in the facility and limited staff available to facilitate. “We have several quickly growing programs and it is important that we have the staffing available to meet the needs of our growing athletic department”, said Macias.

In addition to Harry West, the P building, which was the site for athletics prior to the new gymnasium will be undergoing a major face lift, and according to reports will be turned into a state of the art instructional facility for health and exercise.

“The word is getting out about this facility, and anything is possible.. It’s only a matter of what we are able to fit in with our scheduling”, said Macias.

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Harry West Gym home to new sports programs