Whittell receives hefty donation for new gym | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Whittell receives hefty donation for new gym

Jeremy Evans

The Douglas County School District on Tuesday accepted Big George Venture’s $1.4 million donation for a new gymnasium at Whittell High School, paving the way for the school to add a much-needed athletic facility to the Zephyr Cove campus.

The school district will contribute $950,000 to the project, which is estimated to cost $2.4 million. The gym will be constructed adjacent to the current gymnasium, providing an additional athletic venue for a school that now houses seventh- and eighth-grade students after the closing of Kingsbury Middle School.

“We need this,” said Steve Maltase, Whittell’s athletic director. “Right now, we’re having to go to the middle school for seventh-and eighth-grade basketball games. But the district wants to eventually sell the property where the middle school is, so this will keep all of the students on campus.”

While it’s still in the planning stage, the new gymnasium will be roughly the same size as the middle school gym and will primarily be used as a practice facility. There will be basketball courts, batting cages and bleachers on one side of the gym.

In the last two years, the Ray Sidney-led Big George Ventures has emerged as one of the South Lake Tahoe’s and Douglas County’s largest donors for community projects. A supporter of outdoor athletics, Sidney is a local resident and a former software engineer for Google. Big George Ventures has donated $1.6 million for a new athletic complex at Douglas High School in Minden, $1 million for expanding BlueGo’s service into the Carson Valley, $250,000 for the Community Youth Sports Complex at South Tahoe Middle School, $200,000 for expansion of Kahle Community Center in Stateline and $80,000 for field lights at Whittell.