Full-scale SCHS gym renewal

CURRENT SCHS gym setup set to be torn down in Spring 2025. (Taylor Van Dijk)

Taylor Van Dijk | Opinion Editor

March 17, 2024

As stated in the motto, “one town, one team,” San Clemente High School is united by what we excel at– sports. San Clemente dominates athletically across the spectrum, earning countless CIF titles in soccer, cross country, water polo, and more. An important and often overlooked concept of athletics is maintaining and updating facilities so athletes feel supported and protected. And finally, SCHS is starting to see real progress in this area with a complete demolition and renewal of the main gym on campus.

San Clemente High School Activities Director Matt Reid said, “The gym is going to be rebuilt from the edge of the girls’ locker room all the way to the far edge of the boys’ locker room and everything in between.” This encompasses a renewal of locker rooms, bathrooms, offices, and the weight room in the buildings around the gym. 

GRAPHIC EXAMPLE of seismic bearings and their importance on structures in the case of an earthquake. (Structural Guide)

And one might ask, why now? The answer lies in the funding. The gym was built in the 1970s. Since then, the state government has implemented seismic guidelines for construction projects, in which they require certain structures to be built via tilt-up construction. In practice, this means that concrete is poured into slabs and tilted upwards to create the outer body of the structure. “There is no way to retrofit what has already been built, so they have to demolish it and start over,” stated Reid. 

This guideline prompted a grant from the state of California to fund seismic projects. Another portion of the funds is coming from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) which seeks to create emergency evacuation shelters that can accommodate large amounts of people in case of a natural disaster. The remaining funds are being provided by solar loans that match the investments put in place by the state. In total, this project is estimated to cost 20 million dollars. 

The project is set to begin in Spring of 2025 and should be completed in Fall of 2026. The gym will be closed for hopefully around a year and a half if everything goes according to plan. In the meantime, San Clemente’s sports teams such as basketball and volleyball will rely on the auxiliary gym -the smaller gym on campus- to host games and practices. The administration is also working with other schools to arrange game schedules around the closure. While there is no set plan for locker rooms, a more detailed plan will emerge as the closure date approaches. 

Associative Student Body members are planning ahead as well. ASB Activities member junior Kylie Marsciz stated that, “we still plan to put on ASB spirit assemblies despite the closure. We made it work during COVID-19 and we will continue to do so even without the gym.” Spirit assemblies and sports games might change venues, but the school spirit is here to stay.

Athletes are a little more apprehensive about giving up critical facilities such as locker rooms for that period of time. Cross-country and track runner Grace Pratt mentioned that she “is not really sure where [athletes] are going to change, but there must be someplace to put locker rooms temporarily.” Yet, for students, hope and relief is the general consensus regarding the gym renovations. 

Despite the real purpose of the renewal, this closure will bring imminent changes to facilities– changes that are desperately needed. In recent and upcoming years, San Clemente has begun to place an emphasis on renewal and maintenance, seen not only with the plans for the gym but also with fixing pool leaks, and updating the turf on the field and the grass on the practice field. Seen as though San Clemente is a fairly old school, updating facilities is necessary so the school can continue to support its current students while also being equipped to handle incoming students for future generations. 

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