The girls of Lincoln Heights’ Sacred Heart High will soon have a gym of their own

The new gymnasium will rise what is now a ball court and lunch shelter

LINCOLN HEIGHTS — Generations of basketball  players and other athletes at the all-girl Sacred Heart High School have done without a gymnasium. That has meant having the students at the Catholic school practice and play about a mile away at the recreation center in Lincoln Park. But soon the young athletes will no longer have to endure the catcalls  and taunts as they walk or jog to the park. On Wednesday,  Jan. 10,  a groundbreaking  ceremony will be held for a new gym on the campus grounds.

The new gym will not only be convenient it will allow the young athletes and team players — known as the Comets — to avoid what has been over the years an often intimidating trip to practice indoors at the gym at Lincoln Park. In 2012, L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke described the girls’ 15-minute jog across Lincoln Heights:

“One minute, they feel the breath of charging pit bulls, the next minute they hear the whistle of a tattooed wolf, and eventually they will be confronted by the leering driver of a squeaking Chevy that has slowed to bounce alongside them. It’s always somebody like him, and, confronted with the sight of a group of young women walking through gang territory in the middle of the afternoon, he always asks the same question.

‘Where you going, ladies?'”

Work has already begun in preparation for the 14,252-square-foot gym, which will rise at the corner of Sichel and Mozart Street on what is now a cafeteria, lunch shelter and asphalt-covered ballcourt. The facility, which will include a stage, will be able to serve as an  assembly hall that could seat 300 persons. The estimated cost of the gym, according to city building permits, is $2.47 million.

The school, which has an enrollment of about approximately 350 students, opened its doors 11o years ago.

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