A walkway from Fremont Avenue to Diamond Avenue through the South Pasadena High campus, which had been opened for years, will now be closed to the public when the school is in session mainly due to security issues, according to school district officials.
Board of Education member Jon Primuth says for many years the school district has been concerned about the high degree of open access to the high school campus.
In June 2018, the school district submitted an application to the City of South Pasadena for complete closure of Bank Street between Diamond Avenue and Fremont Avenue. The issue was on the consent calendar of Wednesday’s City Council meeting.
“The purpose of the vacation is to remove public right-of-way restrictions in order for the District to construct a proposed classroom building,” explained Daniel Ojeda, interim director of public works for South Pasadena in a city staff report. “The completion of the vacation will revert the public right-of-way back to the adjacent property (South Pasadena High), which is owned by the District. The additional vacated right-of-way will remove certain public legal restrictions that will allow the District to complete a new classroom building within vacated Bank Street, which is currently under construction.”
At the start of construction of a new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) building on the SPHS campus in December 2017, Primuth says the school district worked with the city officials to adjust the city’s historical east-west easement. “We also presented the city with the District’s need to be able to close the campus without dividing it into exclusive north and south sections separated by the public right of way,” he explained. “For security reasons, the district needed to control the right of way. The city was supportive of our request.”
Primuth says the closure is important for the protection of South Pasadena High students, noting: “Over the years the district constructed fencing and gates at other campuses to improve student and staff safety and campus security. Now that we received approval, the district can secure the entire eastside campus during school hours.”
In official action, the South Pasadena City Council adopted a resolution vacating Bank Street between Fremont Avenue and Diamond Avenue.
In the past, the public has used the pathway heavily, especially when attending functions in the school’s auditorium and sporting events at the gymnasium and stadium. “The district intends to maintain east and west access through campus during non-school hours, giving public access from the parking lot to the high school’s many after-school events,” said Primuth.