By Haley Sawyer
Janet Anderson — 21-year principal of and alumna of South Pasadena High School — couldn’t help but feel emotional as she looked around at the school’s new gym.
“They did a really good job preserving a lot of the traditional look, but then modernizing so it’s much more useful for kids,” Anderson said.
South Pasadena High School unveiled new athletic facilities on Feb. 18, to a small, socially distanced group due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Included is a freshened-up gym with renovated bleachers and a new floor as well as an auxiliary gym, weight room, film room and athletic training room. Outdoor basketball courts and tennis courts were refinished and an outdoor batting cage was added. Other athletic offices received facelifts as well.
The improvements were planned as a part of Measure SP, a $98 million construction bond that voters passed in 2016. The renovations cost more than $13 million.
“A lot of pride and just excited and looking forward to watching the student athletes be able to perform and be a spectator in this beautiful facility, both indoors and outdoors,” Superintendent Geoff Yantz said.. “We’re very appreciative of the community for supporting Measure SP. We now have a very well-integrated athletic facility that’s safe and conducive for student athletes to perform at a high level.”
Construction on the athletic facilities began in November 2019. Coaches and athletic trainers were consulted when developing a blueprint for the makeover so that the most effective equipment was chosen.
Injury prevention was a major focus, and has resulted in a state-of-the-art athletic training facility. Inside the room are two digitally controlled hydrotherapy tubs and six custom athletic training tables for South Pasadena’s full-time athletic trainer.
Around the corner is a dedicated film room with two flat-panel televisions and four rows of theater-style seating.
“Even at the junior college level, they might not have something like that,” athletic director Anthony Chan said. “The film room, to be dedicated to just athletics and to have enough seating in there, where you have a professional staff and students who treat their craft as a profession, that’s going to be big for us.”
Although there are many modern aspects to the facilities, administration has taken special care to preserve Tiger traditions. Tiger faces and paw prints dot the walls and floors. The bleachers are wooden, just as they have always been, as opposed to steel or plastic.
“We’ve been here since 1904,” Anderson said, “so we might as well be excited about upgrading but also preserving that sense of continuity from the past. So we saved some pieces, like outside. There is a tiger head on the wall to your right as you go out, and that was on the gym for many, many years. I think since the ’40s or ’50s. And it’s back.”
On Tuesday, football and water polo were cleared to begin play in Los Angeles County when the latest COVID-19 adjusted case rate number decreased to 12.3 and was below the 14 per 100,000 threshold needed for approval, according to guidelines from the California Department of Public Health.