New School Gym Getting Into Shape

A north-south aerial look at the Barth Athletics Complex highlights the size of the basketball court and gymnasium at the Huntington Middle School facility.

A north-south aerial look at the Barth Athletics Complex highlights the size of the basketball court and gymnasium at the Huntington Middle School facility.

Huntington Middle School parents and Crowell Public Library patrons probably have taken note of the building slowly but steadily forming on the south side of the school’s property.

Construction crews lift a steel ledger used to support ceilings and elevated floors at the complex, which is scheduled to open in August 2019.
Construction crews lift a steel ledger used to support ceilings and elevated floors at the complex, which is scheduled to open in August 2019.

The building represents a $17.1 million investment by the San Marino Unified School District and a multitude of donors in San Marino. For parents and educators connected with HMS, the Barth Athletics Complex also represents the long-dreamed-of gymnasium to replace the antiquated 1930s facility that originally was a kindergarten building. It is due to be ready for use at the start of the 2019-20 school year.
“On time, on budget,” said construction manager Gerald Schober as he concluded a tour of the construction site last week. “Let’s keep it that way.”
The outer shell of the 24,735-square-foot building has mostly taken shape — Schober’s estimate was that it’s around 80% formed. Structural steel installation began this week, first to shape what will be the ceiling in the two locker rooms on the south end of the complex. The steel installation will continue with the gymnasium portion of the complex and then the multipurpose room, according to Schober, with the entire structure scheduled to have a roof by November.
That roof will look familiar to longtime community members. When the original building was demolished last summer, the red clay roofing tiles synonymous with the Spanish Colonial architectural style were largely saved for reuse.
“These are the original tiles,” Schober said, gesturing to the large pile of the clay tiles at the construction site. “I took them off the old building and saved them, to preserve the history and to save some money. Some of them go back to the 1930s.”
In keeping with the architectural styling with HMS and most SMUSD facilities, the Barth Athletics Complex will be plastered in white when all is said and done. In a recent report to the district’s Board of Education, Schober said not to expect any greater neighborhood impact from the project than what there was for the past nine months.
Once the roofing is completed, interior work is slated to begin, with landscaping and connecting access to the rest of the HMS campus set to wrap things up by August 2019. The facility will include a basketball court and telescoping bleachers with the gymnasium, two media classrooms, a fitness center and a multipurpose room.
“It will provide programs that our kids haven’t been able to have at the middle school ever,” said Superintendent Alex Cherniss. “This is something the entire community can enjoy. I think it’s something the community can see and get excited about.”
The front facade of the complex will feature an all-glass entrance to the lobby prominently featuring the title of the facility, named for residents Andy and Avery Barth, who donated $3.5 million directly funding the facility and $2 million for debt-service interest.
Tim and Lisa Sloan received naming rights for the facility’s fitness center with a $500,000 gift. The Barger family’s $250,000 donation will put its name on the multipurpose room. The two media classrooms will be named for residents Calvin Lo and wife Wendy Hsu, as well as Paul and Alice Su, each of whom donated $100,000 for the project last year.
Other donations for the facility have come from the Chinese Club of San Marino, Aaron and Valerie Weiss, the William Hurt Foundation and the Fletcher Jones Foundation, whose offering was made on behalf of Pat Haden.
SMUSD also is funding the project with development fees collected from other construction projects in town and from financing through a certificates-of-participation loan. The state Department of Education also recently approved $2.3 million of its own money for the project.

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