Let the Construction Begin

The outdoor basketball court at South Pasadena High School is one of the facilities that will get a makeover when a construction project that begins in November is completed. Photos by Henk Friezer

The athletics facilities at South Pasadena High School will start looking a whole lot different starting around November – the first steps toward them looking a whole lot better, eventually … but not without some temporary disruptions for some Tiger athletes.

Dr. Geoff Yantz, the superintendent of schools, confirmed for the Review this week that, some two months into the school year, construction will begin on what’s being called “The Athletics Project.”

It will involve extensive renovations to the high school’s gym building, as well as new tennis courts, new outdoor basketball courts, new visitor bleachers for the football and soccer fields and a new field house complete with a state-of-the-art training room, film room and additional storage.

The temporary bleachers (above) that are rented by SPUSD will be taken away and eventually replaced by new, permanent seats in a project expected to take between 10 and 12 months. The handball court (right) is another part of the SPHS sports facilities that will be redone in an extensive makeover.

Construction is expected to take between 10 months and a year, with a best-case target for completion being August 2020.

“We’re shooting for August (2020), but it may bleed in, it just depends on any unforeseen conditions – whether we get a lot of rain, whether it’s a dry year or a wet year,” Yantz said.

In the meantime, Yantz said, some sports programs will have to be relocated, primarily to the middle school. Among them are boys and girls basketball, wrestling, tennis and boys and girls volleyball.

Track and field will not be affected.

Some city sports facilities will be used as interim venues as well, Yantz said.

The project is part of a $98 million school construction bond – Measure SP — passed by voters in 2016. It’s actually the fifth project under the 10-year bond – the first four projects being:

• Replacement of the roof and air-conditioning units and Marengo Elementary.

• Renovated outdoor fields and hardcourts (for basketball and tennis) at the middle school.

• Work on the high school’s “STEM” building, which houses math and science facilities.

• And the “repurposing,” in Yantz’s word, of the “Old Gym” at the middle school. The repurposed facility will house a theater, an art lab and a STEM lab, Yantz said. A new gym had been built at the middle school in 2010.

The projects that begin in November specifically include renovating the gymnasium building with a new basketball floor, new locker rooms and new coaches offices.

Outdoors, the project will produce new tennis courts, basketball courts, new visitor bleachers and the new field house.

In addition to the new gym floor, locker rooms will be gutted and redone, and new team rooms will be added, as will an upgraded training room.

Currently, the training room is an old shower room.

The field house will be tucked underneath new, permanent bleachers, Yantz said. During construction, the current, rented visitor bleachers will be removed.

The high school’s football teams – which play from August through November – will not be affected by the upcoming project.

But for teams that use the outdoor field during the upcoming winter and spring season – such as the soccer teams – the visitors’ bleachers will have been removed. Instead, a section of the home seats will be reserved for visiting fans until the new, permanent bleachers can be installed.

Down the road, Yantz said, there will be additional improvements to infrastructure around the district.

Among the projects on the agenda are:

More work at the elementary schools, improvements to the high school and middle school auditoriums, painting the exterior of the high school, and repairing roofs and the high school and middle schools.

Those are expected to take place in the next two years, Yantz said.