First published in the Jan. 27 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.
The San Marino City Council is slated to hold a discussion at tomorrow’s meeting over amending costs of a professional design services agreement with Crane Architectural Group and another contract with Kelly Sutherlin McLeod Architecture regarding proposed renovations to the San Marino Center.
The amendments will increase Crane’s contract by $229,200 and Kelly Sutherlin McLeod’s by an additional $69,980.
The City Council voted 3-2 at its Jan. 12 meeting in favor of directing city staff to work on the contract revision that appears on the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting, changing the scope of the proposed project from a Spanish Revival style to its current Modern Colonial Revival style.
The most recent estimate received by the city in late 2020 indicated a cost of about $4 million, which would be paid for out of the city’s capital reserves fund. The work would involve redesigning much of the interior, bringing the structure up to code and aesthetically modifying the exterior. A locally assembled task force, which was formed with the specific purpose of researching the project, met recently and unanimously supported the changes.
Plans for the project from the Crane Architectural Group are 95% complete. The city has spent approximately $420,000 on the project on designs as well as site studies, including a lead and asbestos survey.
No matter where the scope of the project eventually ends up, the city could face a hefty tab to simply bring the 70-year-old facility up to contemporary building codes. Michael Throne, the city’s public works director and engineer, told the City Council in Sept. 2020 that the San Marino Center needs $3.1 million to address its deferred maintenance issues, which includes mechanical, plumbing, electrical, disability access, roofing and other general repair issues.
According to Throne, the building requires these improvements in order to remain open on a limited basis on the premise that the renovations would take place prior to “the beginning of fall recreational activities.”
“If this is not the case and we are not able to begin renovations, we would as a matter of policy suggested by the city attorney close the San Marino Center to all public use, which is why Stoneman does not [allow] rentals,” Throne said.
If the council moves the project forward, a draft environmental impact report would be presented to the public on March 1 for review and would be available until March 31, based on the city’s projected schedule. The public’s written responses to the EIR would then be completed by May 1 and in late May revised project drawings will be completed. At the City Council’s meeting on June 8, the final EIR is scheduled to be certified and the project will be put out for bid.
If all goes according to schedule, the project will be awarded to the successful bidders, with groundbreaking on the project slated for Sept. 1.
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 as many as 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 in non-pandemic times, the building is also used for a weekly bridge game. The San Marino Chamber of Commerce also keeps an office on the premises.