80.3 F
San Fernando
Tuesday, Oct 4, 2022
-Advertisement-

Rams Seek Green Pasture

After a 21-year absence, the Los Angeles Rams are back in Southern California and setting up shop in the Conejo Valley. Last month, the National Football League franchise inked a deal with California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks to build its temporary in-season training facilities on the northwest corner of the campus, which the team will use for at least the next two years until its Inglewood stadium is completed in 2019. Until then, the Rams will play home games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in downtown, where the USC Trojans play. Chris Kimball, president of Cal Lutheran, said the move to the university will help with the school’s visibility and name recognition in the marketplace, which could potentially aid in recruiting efforts. The city of Thousand Oaks also anticipates increased exposure as well as economic benefits with the Rams in town. “My understanding is that some staff have already bought homes in Thousand Oaks and surrounding areas, so that is going to be a big plus for our housing market,” said Haider Alawami, economic development manager for the city of Thousand Oaks. “However, the biggest financial impact will be on our sales tax. If they go shopping in our local stores, dining out and enjoying entertainment in the city, it is definitely going to have a positive economic impact on our community.” In addition to its Cal Lutheran in-season training facility, the team has leased 50,000 square feet of office space in Agoura Hills for temporary administrative headquarters. Located at 29899 Agoura Road, the office will house the Rams’ administration, community relations, finance, marketing and ticketing departments, which will total between 70 and 80 employees. Construction funding According to the Cal Lutheran agreement, the team will fund the construction of two practice fields, a paved parking lot and temporary modular buildings that will hold locker rooms, offices and training areas. “I think what we had available for them met their needs,” said Kimball. “Probably the key factor was that we already had open, unused space on campus that was fully entitled for fields as part of our master plan.” Because the school was already preapproved for the construction of the fields and parking lot, the Rams only had to submit an application to the city for the modular buildings. This significantly speeds up the construction process as the Rams need the location fully finished by Sept. 1. About 130 Rams players, coaches and staff will utilize the location for regular season practices from September through January, while offseason activities will take place from March through July. In addition to the team’s football duties, the Rams plan on integrating the organization into campus life. Athletes, coaches and administrators will be involved as guest speakers for events, classes and other Cal Lutheran activities. The team will also offer internship programs for students. Furthermore, the team has plans to get involved in community outreach and charitable work, much like its foundation did in St. Louis. Kimball mentioned how the franchise wants to engage with local K-12 schools by having players visit campuses and mentor students. “The Rams look forward to becoming an integral part of the Cal Lutheran and Thousand Oaks communities as we establish our roots in Southern California,” Kevin Demoff, chief operating officer for the Rams, said in a statement. As it turns out, the Rams are taking a safe bet with Cal Lutheran because this isn’t the school’s first time hosting a pro football team. In the summer of 1963, the university made its resources available to the Dallas Cowboys, who ran its training camp on campus until 1989. “At that time, the university and the city of Thousand Oaks were young,” said Kimball. “Both have grown up and are bigger now, so it’s nice to have the opportunity to host another football team.” The move back to Los Angeles has already begun for the one-time Super Bowl winning team. Spring camp begins April 18 and continues through June at River Ridge Fields in Oxnard. The Rams are scheduled to hold training camp at UC Irvine, starting in late July. During that time, the Cowboys will take over the Oxnard location, which the team has been using on and off for its training activities since 2001. Ultimately, the Rams plan to build permanent facilities that will accommodate both sports training and management operations. The city of Thousand Oaks wants to be considered during negotiations for the permanent location. “We hope in the future to sit down and talk to (the Rams) about a permanent facility,” said Thousand Oaks’ Alawami. “All the Rams players and coaches working five days a week in the city – it’s a great win for everybody.”

-Advertisement-

Featured Articles

-Advertisement-
-Advertisement-

Related Articles

-Advertisement-
-Advertisement-