Strolling through the newest major construction effort made by the the South Pasadena Unified School District, Superintendent Geoff Yantz expressed both excitement and concerns following a recent tour through the structure.
Following his visit earlier this week, Yantz likes the idea that a new arts building, black box theater and computer lab are under construction at South Pasadena Middle School as part of a $98 million bond measure approved by local voters.
“It’s reality now,” he said, relishing in the idea that in about a year when it opens, the old gymnasium on campus will be completely transformed. The project, formerly the school’s gymnasium, has gone from concept to construction in just three years “and now you see the building demolished very carefully and thoughtfully and you can begin to visualize the spaces within the building and what they will look like when it’s completed.”
While all is good on that front, Yantz realizes, like those doing the construction, that it’s an old building and there are issues following the demolition of some components of its interior.
“To modernize it, there are always unforeseen conditions inside the walls, and sure enough the wood is showing signs of damage,” he said. “Whether it’s termites, whether it’s being old wood, it’s rotted out due to water damage. The builders will be carefully reconstructing and replacing the damaged parts and we will move forward.”
As workers move forward “it makes you nervous in what is not known,” said Yantz, taking a positive approach, glad to see the transformation taking place. “Nonetheless, it’s very exciting to see it all happening.”
A new science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) building opened earlier this year at South Pasadena High. Now the major bond project is well underway at the middle school, and in November a makeover of the athletic facilities at SPHS will get the green light. Yantz is cognizant that none of it could have happened with out the support of the community.
Support of Measure SP is making a difference as upgrades to the schools are beginning to make an impression from residents. “That’s what the voters decided,” Yantz noted. “We put a plan ahead of us and I’m happy to say we’re following that plan, timeline, to complete various projects that were voted on, and we’re moving.”
The district is in year four since the bond measure was passed “and it’s exciting, knowing the overall quality of our instructional spaces are safe, modernized and reflective of the value we place in our educational system here in South Pasadena,” said the superintendent, paying tribute to maintenance crews, classroom instructors, administrators and members of the public for their input and patience while work on campuses continues. “Everyone should be very proud of what is being offered both in the instruction side as well as the physical surroundings we’re in. It’s a reflection of our pride in our investment in education.”