First published in the Sept. 1 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.
The city of San Marino is expected to break ground on the San Marino Center renovation project by Sept. 29 or Sept. 30, according to City Manager Marcella Marlowe.
In July, the San Marino City Council approved the remodel by a narrow vote of 3-2. The decision launched a construction contract with CABD Construction, a construction management contract with Griffin Structures and an agreement with Kizh Nation for Native American monitoring services.
Costs for the proposal add up to a total of $8.36 million, including almost $825,000 in expenses that have already been incurred.
“I think the community is really going to enjoy the campus feel between the newly remodeled San Marino Center and the Crowell Public Library,” said city councilman Ken Ude. “The San Marino Center Task Force did such a great job in envisioning the features and feel for the San Marino Center that the community will really embrace.”
In July, Vice Mayor Steve Talt and Ude joined Mayor Susan Jakubowski in supporting the project while council members Gretchen Shepherd Romey and Dr. Steven Huang opposed the proposal. At that meeting, Ude pointed out that the city’s total reserve is up to $45 million and that the project was affordable.
“Our department is currently overseeing the implementation of the San Marino Center Improvement Project’s Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program which was adopted as part of the project’s adopted Environmental Impact Report to ensure that the mitigation and monitoring commitments made in the EIR are carried out in a timely and effective manner,” said Isidro Figueroa, Community Development Director.
The vision for the San Marino Center project began in 2020, after a staff presentation to the City Council about reconceptualizing recreation programming to be more focused on community building activities than individual benefit class activities. With the Council’s support for that shift — including direction in 2020 to transition the City’s preschool program to a third-party provider — it was determined that this new recreation program would fit better at the San Marino Center than the much larger Stoneman facility.
The process has moved forward steadily despite twists and turns relating to design and environmental impact.
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.
“This month, construction begins on reshaping the existing San Marino Center, which — once complete — will deliver the stakeholder-envisioned programs the community has wanted for generations to come,” said Robert Newman, interim parks and public works director and city engineer.
Marlowe agreed with the positive sentiment.
“Once renovations are complete, the San Marino Center will be a wonderful space to bring the community together, which is just what we need now that the worst of COVID-19 is hopefully behind us.”