A facility-use request by Mosaic Church to use the auditorium at South Pasadena Middle School won’t be approved, according the South Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Geoff Yantz.
“After evaluating the church’s needs and the electrical infrastructure of the building the District determined that the needs of the church could not be met without extensive and intrusive upgrades to the electrical infrastructure,” explained Yantz on why the church won’t be relocating from its current location at the nearby Rialto Theatre on Fair Oaks Avenue.
He said the school district conducted an evaluation and assessment of the auditorium before determining it would not work out between the two parties.
“It’s not going to happen,” said the superintendent.
In September, the issue was brought before the South Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education to consider a 2-year site license, which would have allowed Mosaic Church to use the middle school for “religious services and related events,” as part of a proposed agreement. During the September 10 Board meeting a discussion was held and a draft agreement was reviewed for future consideration.
“The Civic Center Act requires school districts to make its facilities available to non-faith and faith-based organizations during non-instructional hours,” explained Yantz. “About six weeks ago, the church made a request to use the middle school auditorium for Sunday services. We held a few meetings to ascertain what their needs are and determined that there was a possibility to have them use the facility.”
Yantz said the school district receives hundreds of facilities requests each year. Standard requests are administratively processed through an online request system. For requests that involve a larger rental value, noted Yantz, “like a church, school districts will opt to enter into a license or lease agreement,” he said. “It provides more security for the school district in the relationship with the organization.”
The church requested to occupy the auditorium in November. Over the past two weeks, school district maintenance department personnel met with Mosaic representatives evaluating the electrical infrastructure of the auditorium. “The district has concluded the electrical infrastructure in the building does not meet what their needs are, therefore, we are unable to accommodate their request. It’s an old building that is not capable of supporting modern day technology and uses.”
Yantz stressed that the school district is obligated by law to consider all facility requests, whether it’s a non-faith based or faith based organization. “We have to conduct our due-diligence,” he said. “Churches that use schools for Sunday services are not uncommon.”
The South Pasadena High School is not available for Mosaic’s use for Mosaic Sunday services, said Yantz, due to numerous student productions along with other year-round uses. He said the facility request by Mosaic was only made for South Pasadena Middle School.
It’s unknown at this time why Mosaic, which has been operating out of the Rialto since 2017, is looking for a new home. The church also operates out of Venice, Hollywood, Orange County, Seattle and Mexico City.