Stoneman School to get gradual upgrades
San Marino leaders opt to improve former school site with potential funds from other agencies.
Students in an art class at Stoneman School in San Marino. The City Council approved improvements for the building costing $5-7 million over a period of several years. (Tim Berger / Staff Photographer / July 14, 2012)
The City Council threw support behind improvements costing between $5 million to $7 million for the facility at Huntington Drive and Granada Avenue. The work, to take place over a three-to-five year period, will allow the disused former elementary school to meet disability access standards and prepare it better to host classes and gatherings.
Options rejected by the council include a $27.4 million investment to add a pool on site and a smaller, $3 million project to simply bring the facility up to code and improve the ventilation system.
The city must now look for sources of funding, including possible grants from other agencies.
“It's hard, it's not easy. But that is not to say that it cannot be done,” Mayor Richard Sun said about finding money for refurbishment. “We should have that kind of vision.”
The city bought the site at Huntington Drive and Granada Avenue from the San Marino Unified School District in July for $6 million.
On Wednesday, City Councilman Dennis Kneier said he is in favor of fixing up the site, but wondered if it is worth immediate attention. The city also plans improvements to the San Marino Center, formerly the San Marino Women's' Club, next to Crowell Library.
“Is this our highest priority for the next three years?” Kneier said.
City Manager John Schaefer said he understood Kneier's desire to focus on the San Marino Center, but said it is important to take steps at Stoneman.
“Do you want us to just patch [the Stoneman site] together or do you want us to say we're in Stoneman and we know we're going to be there a while?” Schaefer asked. “To make it nice, where it is usable space where we can have the greatest potential to cover our costs, we can't just patch it. We really need to make it nice.”
Mayor Sun agreed. “Even though it's not in the center of the town, I believe this area will be providing a much more comprehensive use for the community,” Sun said. “If we ever considered a community center in the future, to me, [Stoneman] will be the place.”