Just because it will be several weeks before they can actually use the new athletic facilities at South Pasadena High School doesn’t mean the Tigers aren’t already licking their collective chops over the opportunity.
As the completion date for the major facilities renovation project arrives — by the end of September, according to Allison Anderson, bond construction coordinator for the South Pasadena Unified School District — a new athletic landscape is beginning to take shape.
The school’s two gymnasiums have received substantial upgrades, the long-anticipated new tennis courts are on the way, and the new modern field house is rising on a spot where outdoor basketball courts once existed.
Improvements to the athletic facilities will tally more than $13 million, part of a $98 million construction bond — Measure SP — that voters passed in November 2016 by a margin of 3-1.
Work stretches outdoors, too, with new visitors’ bleachers for the Ray Solari Stadium, new outdoor basketball courts, and improvements to the baseball field and swimming pool. The project also includes new perimeter fencing, outdoor lighting and planters.
In the two gymnasiums, work includes new HVAC and lighting, basketball goals and stanchions, bleachers, restrooms, locker rooms, team rooms and a ticket booth at the Diamond Avenue entrance.
New wood flooring has also been installed in the southernmost, or “main” gym. Signage and ornamental concrete will augment an upgraded entryway to Roosevelt Field.
Referred to as “the crown jewel” of the project by SPHS athletic director Anthony Chan, the new field house includes a training facility that will provide modern, sanitary and effective space for student-athletes to be treated for injuries, receive rehabilitation and train for injury prevention. The space will be used by the district’s full-time athletic trainer. New weight-training equipment will be added to the facility, storage space is plentiful and the field house will also house a new film room.
“This provides a modern approach to athletics that models what our student-athletes can expect should they continue athletics at the next level,” Chan said.
The film room also has space for a classroom environment and is liberally outfitted with digital screens and whiteboards.
Construction at SPUSD sites was never interrupted, even though classrooms were locked down in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The district recently began the 2020-21 school year via distance learning.
Use of the new facilities will have to wait, however, as the California Interscholastic Federation has delayed the start of athletic competition until December.