Besides getting to see classmates who have similarly been stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, South Pasadena High School students will be treated to a host of welcome new sights when they eventually return to the campus.
Rising from seemingly out of nowhere will be several new and modernized facilities, especially in the realm of athletics, all part of a $98 million construction bond — Measure SP — that voters passed in November 2016 by a margin of 3-1. Every site in the South Pasadena Unified School District will benefit from the bond, but SPHS’ aging facilities may be undergoing the most necessary upgrades.
The main gymnasium has received a new facade, floor and other improvements, and long-anticipated new tennis courts are on the way. But it is a new, modern field house that is the centerpiece of the project.
The new training facility 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 host a new film room.
SPHS athletic director Anthony Chan said the field house is the “crown jewel” of the project.
“Since so many of our programs are already watching film, often just from their phones or borrowing a classroom, it was time to have a specific room for watching and discussing film,” said Chan. “This provides a modern approach to athletics that models what our student-athletes can expect should they continue athletics at the next level.”
The film room also has space for a classroom environment and is liberally outfitted with digital screens and whiteboards.
“Since coming in as athletic director, my goal has been to lead our athletics into the future,” Chan said. “We continue to move our platforms online and make it easier for our coaches to focus on coaching instead of being bogged down by paperwork. This renovation is right in line with our vision that is shared with the district, administration, staff, student-athletes and community of modernizing our athletics.”
Chan is also optimistic about the new weight-training aspect of the field house.
“I am also excited to have support in renovating the weight room with the input of all programs,” Chan explained. “We will have a weight room that focuses on modern, scientifically proven exercises to help our student-athletes excel.”
The new tennis courts will have new space for spectators and updated fencing.
“They will be beautiful,” said Chan.
The project is scheduled for completion in mid-August, but the district has already announced plans to begin the 2020-21 school year via distance learning. The Tigers won’t be able to fully employ the facilities until later in the year, however, as the California Interscholastic Federation has delayed the start of athletic competition until December. When the Tigers return, it will be to a much-improved habitat.
“In the many years of service, our staff has done their best to upkeep and provide the best facilities possible with what we had,” Chan concluded. “That being said, it was time to have this much-needed remodel for our school and athletics programs. I think the support of the community and the vision of the district and administration will come through on this project. When anyone talks about the athletics renovation, there is definitely excitement and a lot of pride in being part of the Tiger family.”