HomeCommunity NewsOfficials Say It’s ‘Right Time’ to Overhaul San Marino Center

Officials Say It’s ‘Right Time’ to Overhaul San Marino Center

City officials have released plans and renderings for proposed renovations to the San Marino Center, the building at 1800 Huntington Drive that for most of its existence was called the San Marino Woman’s Club.
If completed, the structure will be brought up to current building codes, match the decor of the neighboring Crowell Public Library and serve as a “usable, flexible and modern community center facility,” in the words of Michael Throne, the city’s public works director and engineer.
The project is estimated to cost approximately $4 million, according to City Manager Marcella Marlowe. The San Marino City Council could take the next steps at one of its upcoming meetings, which are scheduled for Friday, May 29, and Friday, June 5.
The city will host a town hall meeting if the council decides to move forward with the project. The council could then vote to award the design plan as early as its July 8 meeting, according to Marlowe, with the project possibly going out to bid in December.
“This is the right time to take on this project,” said City Councilman Ken Ude, who along with Steve Talt served as a council liaison on the project. “The building is really old, has not been upgraded in 50 years and does not function well. Moreover, we have the capital to deploy, and contractors should be hungry for the work with other cities in post-COVID financial trouble. So, we should be able to get the project done faster and at a lower cost.
“The city’s in good financial shape and our reserve has continued to grow at a time when we have increased our investments in streets, sidewalks and infrastructure.”
Construction was completed in April 1952 on what at the time was the Woman’s Club, which held its first meeting in the new clubhouse that month. In 2005, the building was sold to the city and renamed the San Marino Center.
In its current layout, the building can accommodate up to 300 people and is available to rent for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and other special events. The facility has three main rooms: an auditorium, dining room and the Fireside Room, which is used for smaller events and meetings. The facility also includes an industrial kitchen.
San Marino City Club holds most of its meetings in the San Marino Center, and the building is also used for a weekly bridge game. The San Marino Chamber of Commerce also keeps an office on the premises.
“The conceptual drawings for the San Marino Center are a big step for the city,” Talt said. “For years, we have spoken about what to do about improving the facilities. The plan for remodeling it in a complementary design to the library makes sense to me, and putting the asset to work for the city is the sensible thing to do. The plan to modernize the layout will increase the opportunities for use by Recreation and for larger city gatherings.”
Throne said that the council could add the San Marino Center into the Capital Improvement Plan for the 2020-21 fiscal year. He said residents will be asked to provide input on the project ahead of the July meeting.
Talt also wants to hear from the public.
“We have a lot of work to do before we get there, and I am excited to hear from the residents about their thoughts on its design and use,” Talt said.


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