Plans are in the works to repurpose the old gymnasium at South Pasadena Middle School and upgrade the athletic facilities at the local high school.
“These are two exciting projects that are in the planning stages,” explained South Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Geoff Yantz.
Once drawn up, the plans will be submitted to the State Department of Architects for approval.
South Pasadena Middle School
The Board of Education has voted to retain the existing structure of the old gymnasium on the South Pasadena Middle School campus and gut the interior in order to repurpose it into a black box theater and arts room.
When the project is completed, the school’s drama department, which currently meets in a classroom, will be able to use the theater space for instruction.
“It will also be used for rehearsal space,” explained South Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Geoff Yantz of the theater’s use. “The space won’t be used for the large spring musicals, but this is a black box theater which is more intimate setting.”
Yantz said the art room on campus will move to a specialized area in the black box theater once it opens.
“We’re looking forward to it,” said Yantz. “It’s going to be nice. We’re in the planning process, evaluating costs and so forth. To retain the structure, there’s some careful and deliberate work that needs to occur to make sure that it’s earthquake safe and meets all structural standards.”
Final plans will then be submitted to the state in the coming months for review. Yantz said it will take between eight to 12 months to receive approval from the state.
South Pasadena High School
The school plans to construct new outdoor basketball courts adjacent to the gymnasium, along with a new training room, film room, tennis courts, installation of a new floor in the gym and renovation of the locker rooms.
“We have to plan it for a time of least amount of impact on the physical education program,” said Yantz.
The South Pasadena Board of Education has approved the conceptual layout but “is now doing all the detailed work,” noted Yantz, before it goes to the state for final approval.
The superintendent says the plans will be worked on for the next several months then go to the state. Yantz said it will take another 8 to 10 months before they are approved.
As early as this summer, Yantz said the school district plans to replace the lights inside the stadium with LED. “That’s what we’re targeting if everything goes well,” he said. “That will be a huge improvement to safety, and far more efficient as far as operational costs. The lights on the (football and soccer) field will be much better because it gets pretty dark on one end. It will be fantastic out there.”