Despite the showers that rained down Thursday in Murrieta, nothing could dampen the spirits of the staff, students and supporters who’d gathered to take part in the ceremonial opening of the new gymnasium at Oak Grove Center.
The years-long effort to raise funds for the new facility finally saw a happy conclusion Thursday at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“I’m just so proud. I can’t believe the miracle that this is,” said Oak Grove Center CEO Tammy Wilson.
Wilson, a blur of excitement and hopeful expectation for the future, offered tours of the gymnasium to media representatives and others, proudly remarking on each careful and painstaking detail that had been considered when building the facility for the students at Oak Grove.
The gym/multipurpose room is a 120’ by 150’ multipurpose building that includes a CIF-regulation basketball court, an occupational therapy room, an arts and music room and a weight room.
A recreation room features a ping-pong table, lounge and craft area, bean bags, theater seating and large screen television.
The decor of the rooms were the work of Wilson’s daughter Ariel Wilson, a design student who applied a special touch to each space that infused hip colors and inspirational slogans and photos embodying the spirit of the students who attend the school.
Wilson, noting that $1.5 million of the project’s cost was paid by monies raised and in-kind donations, pointed out the many places throughout the multipurpose facility that recognized the generosity of donors throughout the years at events like Rock the Oaks and Evening Under the Oaks.
A large painting on the south wall of the gym depicts a giving tree that displays the many sponsors that supported efforts to build the facility.
“There is absolutely no way that we would have been able to build this gym without the support of so many in the community. A special thank you goes to Murrieta Development Company, Inc., Pacific Floor Co., Pechanga Development Corporation, Milgard Windows & Doors, Chuck Vogel, Up on the Roof, David Neault Associates, Champion Floors, Vogel Construction, The Way Family Church, Rhoades Landscape & Sprinklers, Weingart Foundation, Windsong Foundation and many more,” Wilson said.
In addition to sports activities such as basketball and volleyball, Wilson said she imagines putting the versatility of the space to good use by also hosting informational public events.
The school’s signature fundraising efforts will continue to help support the ongoing needs of equipment, supplies and maintenance, she said.
Founded in 1989, Oak Grove is a non-profit offering 24-hour residential and educational treatment of children with a variety of mental, psychological, social, emotional, behavioral needs, family dysfunction and substance abuse.
Oak Grove Center is located 24275 Jefferson Avenue in Murrieta.
To learn more, visit www.OakGroveCenter.org or call 951-677-5599.
Kerri S. Mabee is managing editor at Southwest Riverside News Network.