Construction Continues at Schools During Pandemic

Major projects to turn the old gym at South Pasadena Middle School into a black box theater and enhance the athletic facilities at South Pasadena High School are targeted for completion in the fall

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | News | Construction on the former outdoor basketball court section in progress at SPHS

All construction related activity in the South Pasadena Unified School District continues to move forward while campuses remain closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Old Gym Rehabilitation Project at South Pasadena Middle School is scheduled for completion in mid-to-late September.

Efforts are to turn the old gym on campus into a black box theater, repurposing a building with a long history and effectively maintaining its historical value.

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Along with the black box theatre – a darkened performance space with audience interaction that varies in size in a square room – the finished product will also feature flex labs featuring multiple functions and an arts room.

The theatre portion will provide flexible seating for audience members, allowing for a variety of different configurations.  Performances might be held as theatre-in-the-round or in a traditional seating arrangement. Space will be used for everything from lectures to dance performance where only basic technical arrangements are required.

A project to enhance athletic facilities at South Pasadena High is experiencing some supply line/manufacturing delays due to COVID-19, according to SPHS Superintendent Geoff Yantz.

However, he said Balfour Beatty Construction, the firm responsible for the effort, is “working creatively” to maintain the schedule with its ending day projected for the fall.

Work on the SPHS athletic facilities project calls for improvements to the school’s two gymnasiums, and a redesign of the area on Diamond Avenue from the stadium south to the pool and baseball field. New outdoor basketball courts, tennis courts, visitor bleachers, a new field house, featuring a training, film room and storage, are also in the plans.

The two gyms, explained Yantz, will be a key focus, the superintendent explaining most of the work will be done on the older, or what he calls the “main gym,” where he entire floor and bleachers will be replaced, new baskets and backboards installed, the lobby renovated, restrooms and outside ticket booth replaced. In addition, the locker rooms will be gutted, restored, and new team rooms will be built.

The school’s athletic facilities will be updated, “creating a higher quality and safer environment for student-athletes and a more welcoming and enjoyable space for parents and community,” wrote Yantz in a letter to parents in the district.

In addition to the major projects at the middle and high schools, other work on campuses is underway.

The exterior of South Pasadena High has been repainted. In addition, new security gates have been installed at some locations at the school.

The middle school two-story classroom roof replacement project is scheduled to begin on June 1.

The elementary school portable replacement and new arts classroom projects remain in the planning stages.  “We expect to break ground on these projects before the end of the 2020-2021 school year,” said Yantz.