The City Council was expected this week to approve a concept design for a possible remodel of the San Marino Center, the building that for several decades was known as the Woman’s Club and is located on Huntington Drive just west of the Crowell Public Library.
The project, which was estimated last year to cost in the neighborhood of $4 million, will be paid for out of the city’s general fund if it advances through the several stages needed for approval. The city currently has a $15.7 million unassigned fund balance with another $18 million in capital funds.
The council was expected on Wednesday to hear from Crane Architectural Services and a locally assembled task force, which was seated with the specific purpose of researching the project. The council was expected to give direction to the design firm Wednesday night on the basis of public input collected at 11 public meetings that have been held since July.
The council this year deemed a remodel and update to the center one of its priority initiatives, especially as it became apparent that a revitalized Recreation Department was likely to be housed there. Before kicking off its public outreach sessions, the council agreed to a $349,660 contract with Crane for the design work so it could be a part of those sessions; Crane had previously mocked up a quick look at what a remodel could be to help city officials roughly gauge the scope of the project.
The council will have to decide whether to retain the building’s midcentury modern style or to convert it to blend in with the Spanish colonial revival look of everything else with which it shares a parking lot, including the library and parts of Huntington Middle School.
“What does the council want to do with the stage?” said City Manager Marcella Marlowe. “Do they want a full kitchen? These are among the decisions that will have to be made before the project would eventually go out for bid.”
What would be the next steps once a design concept is approved by the council?
“A period of relative silence,” said Marlowe.
“Crane would consult with the city and the task force, which would be convened as needed.”
Marlowe said it would be January when final draft plans would be presented to the city council and February before a contract would be awarded.
Tribune staff writer Zane Hill contributed to this article.