At long last, the Barth Athletic Complex has broken ground at Huntington Middle School.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, HMS and city residents will have their new gym and multipurpose athletic facility by August 2019. The facility is named for the generous $3.5 million donation from locals Andy and Avery Barth, who later added another $2 million dedicated to debt service payments.
Speaking before a crowd of about 100 parents, community members and local leaders, Superintendent Alex Cherniss related the dawn of the project to when he joined San Marino Unified School District three years ago, and, in a “Field of Dreams” reference, met with Andy Barth to discuss the history of the district.
“He said something to me,” Cherniss said. “It was something like, ‘If you build it, I will help.’ That meeting puzzled me. What was it about?”
As Cherniss acclimated to his new job, he said, he learned “it” was a long-desired new gym for HMS, which until this week was making due with a repurposed building built in 1930. Plans were made and Cherniss revisited the subject with the Barths, resulting in the donation.
The two-story facility will include a full-size California Interscholastic Federation regulation gym, two media classrooms, a fitness room, team rooms for boys and girls and a multipurpose room.
Other donations, including from Tim and Lisa Sloan, the Barger family, Calvin Lo and Wendy Hsu, Paul and Alice Su, Aaron and Valerie Weiss, the William Hurt Foundation and Fletcher Jones Foundation (on behalf of Pat Haden) and Chinese Club of San Marino have added another $1.085 million to the project, which is expected to cost about $14 million.
SMUSD is using $2 million of its own money for the construction and plans to use developer’s fees to go toward debt service, which is in the form of a certificate of participation loan of up to $6.5 million that was approved in February.
Interior demolition is ongoing and deconstruction of the building itself is slated to begin Monday, June 12. The bid for construction of the new facility is planned to be awarded in August.