As Santa Monica High School (Samohi) approaches the centennial anniversary of its opening on its current campus in four years, school officials have unveiled plans for new facilities intended to breathe life as the milestone celebration takes place.
Looking to prepare the high school for its second century, school officials held a community meeting March 9th to introduce the proposal for a new campus master plan, also known as the ìfinal buildout,î which includes the construction of a new Science and Technology Plaza.
The plan is additionally aimed at connecting the school more with the city by integrating it with the Civic Auditorium campus across Fourth Street through a joint-use project of recreational facilities, officials said.
Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Superintendent Tim Cuneo said Samohi, which begins the centennial celebration of its current campus in 2013, has many facilities that are outdated and its recreational fields need to be renewed to meet the future demands of teams. As the city plans to redevelop its Civic Center property, the high school will look to renovate its facilities as part of a joint-use recreational project, creating a new 80-acre campus, officials said.
ìTogether we have a one-time opportunity to develop both sites cooperatively and jointly,î Cuneo told the meeting audience.
ìTonight, we offer to the City of Santa Monica the gift of our campus and property to create a new landscape for the city.î
A key phase of the final buildout plan is the construction of the proposed $97 million Science and Technology Plaza, which is expected to be funded through Measure BB, a school safety and repair measure approved by voters. The plaza, which is planned for completion in February 2013, would include 15 new science labs, 18 new classrooms, a computer lab, parking area, temporary softball field and new entrance at Michigan Avenue and Seventh Street, according to the plan.
Another primary phase of the master plan is the proposed $235-million joint use-project with the city. The proposed partnership is intended to redevelop the high schoolís cultural, recreational and public facilities to be used by the school during the day and the city during non-school hours, officials said. The district is seeking funding for the project through the cityís Redevelopment Authority, officials noted.
ìThis joint project deepens, broadens and reaffirms our schoolís involvement with Santa Monica,î Cuneo told the audience.
Michael Hill, a district consultant, noted that the joint-use proposal will provide new facilities that will benefit not only the school students but local residents as well.
ìThe proposal is for the whole community because it provides expanded and enhanced cultural and recreational facilities for all of Santa Monica,î Hill said. ìThis presents a legacy opportunity for all of Santa Monica.î
Officials said the project is designed in a way for each graduating class of the four-year centennial celebration to be able to inaugurate a new facility. One phase of the project, which is expected to open in 2014, includes a new Michigan Avenue Promenade, stadium and synthetic turf field, as well as a new track, tennis courts and subterranean garage.
Other facilities expected to open in 2015 are a pool, a soccer field, weight room and gyms. New softball and baseball fields, as well as Greek Theater improvements are expected to be completed by 2016, according to the plan.
ìItís a once in a lifetime opportunity to upgrade these facilities,î Santa Monica-Malibu school board president Ralph Mechur said. ìIím delighted with the plan. Hopefully it will be a win-win for both the school and the city to get upgraded recreational facilities.î
The City Council plans to have a study session on the Civic Center project at its meeting Tuesday, March 24th.