After decades of Hesperia Junior High School Roadrunners eating in their gymnasium, or perhaps exercising in their cafeteria, the school board may be close to approving a separate gymnasium for the district's oldest middle school.


"We call it our 'cafenasium' or 'gymeteria,'" said Principal Robert McCollum on Tuesday. But it's not really a laughing matter to many Roadrunner parents: "Parents can't come see their kids play basketball or anything like that."


The Victor Valley Union High School District built the school in 1965 without a separate gymnasium.


Relief may be in sight: At Monday night's Hesperia Unified school board facilities meeting, the board was reminded of the $2.7 million in matching funds the state has allocated for a new gymnasium for Hesperia Junior. The total package would cost about $5 million, and the district has its half of the money -- construction funds are in a separate legal category from money used to pay salary and benefits -- but the board has not approved the project yet.


The money isn't available indefinitely: The state's funds were approved for 18 months, which means that if the district doesn't begin work on the project by May 2012, the cash goes away. The project is scheduled to be on the agenda for the board's November meeting.


The next regular meeting of the HUSD school board will be held on Nov. 1 at 6 p.m. in the HUSD Educational Support Center Annex, 15576 Main Street.


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.