Medford school gyms re-open for programs

The Medford School District will reopen its gyms today to community activities that were scheduled prior to the teachers' strike, said Todd Bloomquist, director of secondary education for the district.

The facilities will be opened in a limited capacity, from 6 to 10 p.m. on weekdays during the strike and from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. during weekends.

All of the district's after-school care programs will remain canceled while the strike is in progress, a district news release said.

Bloomquist said as the strike has continued, the district has learned "what we can and can't support."

Only groups that are already signed up to use the gym space will be allowed in the facilities, he said.

"It's a big deal because we have so many community groups that rely on those gyms for activities," he said.

Rogue Valley Family YMCA Executive Director Brad Russell said the partial opening is great news for the organization's youth basketball program, which includes about 330 first- through sixth-grade students.

"I got word (Thursday) that indeed we can resume our game schedule as normal," Russell said. "This is good news ... hopefully it will get back to the regular schedule soon."

The YMCA also oversees the still-canceled after-school care program.

While the Medford gyms were closed, the YMCA used its own facility and a pair of gyms provided by the Eagle Point School District to house its 32 affected youth basketball teams.

With the partial opening, about 14 teams are still affected, but all practices and games will be back in Medford, Russell said.

Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-776-4471 or by email at swheeler@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/swhlr.


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