Helicopter at High School | Heavy Lifting During Gym Construction

The chopper lowered five HVAC units onto the roof of the South Pasadena High gymnasium Wednesday as part of a major project to upgrade the athletic facilities on campus

PHOTO: Provided by SPUSD | SouthPasadenan.com News | A helicopter lowered five HVAC units onto the roof of the gymnasium Wednesday morning as part of a major project at South Pasadena High to upgrade the athletic facilities on campus

Construction on a multimillion-dollar athletic project at South Pasadena High continues, as district officials were saying mission accomplished Wednesday morning after some heavy deliveries were made in an unusual manner.

A helicopter was called in to carefully lower five heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) units onto the roof of the school’s gymnasium in front of curious bystanders, taking in the sights and sounds of the chopper overhead.

Efforts are underway to provide a new look to the west side of the 114-year-old institution.

South Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Geoff Yantz said the project is scheduled to open in early fall. Its estimated cost is $13.5 million, say district officials, and will be paid for through a bond measure approved by South Pasadena voters. Balfour Beatty Construction, an industry leader, is serving as the contractor at the job site on Diamond Avenue.

“Everything is moving forward, outside of some supply line disruptions,” said Yantz, pleased that the coronavirus has not significantly impacted work up to now. “So far, it is on time and on budget.”

However, its timeline could change, note district officials.

PHOTO: Provided by SPUSD | SouthPasadenan.com News | A helicopter lowered five HVAC units onto the roof of the gymnasium Wednesday morning as part of a major project at South Pasadena High to upgrade the athletic facilities on campus

SPUSD Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Dave Lubs, noted the district has “been informed by a few suppliers to expect delays in deliveries (new indoor and outdoor bleachers, for example) due to COVID-related plant closures, so there is still the possibility the pandemic may cause the project to run slightly over,” he said. “We remain optimistic, yet realistic.”

Improvements will be made to the school’s two gymnasiums, plus 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. Most of the work will be done on the older, or what he calls the “main gym,” where the 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.

Floors of the newer gym on the north side will be sanded, refinished and restriped, and air conditioning units will be added. “Basically, everything else stays the same,” noted Yantz.

Flying in the HVAC units with a helicopter was less expensive than bringing in a crane to complete the task, noted Lubs.

“The project is progressing appropriately and really starting to take shape,” he said.