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Samohi Modernization Project Moves Forward:

Members of the local School Board had the opportunity to review the latest plans for the upgrade of Santa Monica High School at their last meeting.

These refined plans reflect both the intent of Measure “BB” and the needs of the high school. They also reflect the input received from a workshop held this past spring on possible opportunities for recreation and cultural joint uses for the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and Samohi.

The voters from the cities of Santa Monica and Malibu approved the $268 million Bond Measure “BB” in November of 2006 to fund the projects proposed in the District’s 20-year Facilities Master Plan. Individual school site needs were established by having each site’s representatives meet with their architectural team.

At the November 20 School Board meeting, architect Rikki Binder from R.L. Binder Architecture and Planning stated that the new plans include a 54,900 square-foot Science and Technology Building with a Regional Opportunity Program (ROP) Auto Shop, a Science and Technology quad and outdoor gathering spaces, a Michigan Avenue campus entry upgrade, a relocation of the campus softball field, and a campus parking reconfiguration. Other improvements included are a South Gym Court ceiling finish replacement, a campus-wide fire alarm system upgrade, a campus-wide technology electrical upgrade, and maintenance of the gym and locker room’s ventilation system

Board member Barry Snell called the plans “visionary.”

After the presentation and Board discussion, the Board approved a $4,991,604 increase to the contract between the School District and R.L. Binder Architecture and Planning. The total contract amount is now $6,589,836.

According to Binder, the schematic design phase for Samohi is now complete and her firm will be entering into the more detailed design-development phase starting on December 5. She told the Board that construction of Phase I of the project should take 31 months.

Binder also mentioned that, “all the sports needs have not been addressed” in Phase I. She noted in an earlier Board meeting this option of construction for Phase I would provide more flexibility for future projects.

The idea of utilizing Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and Samohi for joint uses is supported by the City’s 2002 Civic Center Specific Plan (CCSP), the City’s 2007 cultural master plan, Creative Capital, and the 2006 School District’s Facilities Master Plan. Built in 1958, the Civic Auditorium is a designated City landmark and can seat up to 3,500 people. Samohi contains venues that can be used for recreation or cultural events including the 1,250-seat Barnum Hall and the 2,500-seat Greek Amphitheatre.

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