[BHS Etree] ADMIN - Closure of the Old Gym - from Principal Scuderi

BHS etree bhs at lists.lmi.net
Tue Oct 4 20:14:04 PDT 2011

Dear BHS Families:


Some of you have had questions about why we decided to close the South Gym
Building (The Old Gym) late last week. The communication from Superintendent
William Huyett below provides some detail on that decision. We fully
acknowledge the challenges that this facilities issue has caused for some of
our athletic programs, and we are working to minimize those challenges with
temporary storage space. Physical Education classes had been reassigned to
the newer locker rooms in the pool building at the beginning of the school
year and are unaffected by this change.


While the inconvenience created for our athletic program by this decision is
clear, we agree with our district partners that the closure is the most
sensible course of action at this time given the paramount importance of
student safety and considering the fact that the closure simply moves up an
action that had already been slated for this winter.




Pasquale Scuderi






Last week I asked Principal Scuderi  if he could move the Sports Medicine
course out of the South Gym Building.  He told me given a few days he could
arrange another meeting space for the class.  In addition I asked if there
were any other student programs in the South Gym and he stated that all
other programs had been moved out in anticipation of the demolition of the
facility in January.  


He did mention that there was space used for storage by athletic teams and
that we would need to accommodate their needs with additional metal storage
units in the future. We have completed the classroom move and are working on
bringing in some temporary storage for athletics.  All of these issues have
been made more complicated due to the delay in construction of the Phase I
project of the "Bleacher Building".  


I was recently made aware of past controversies about the safety of the
building that arose after a campaign in 2000 to pass a small bond to
modernize the building.  At that time an engineering firm named ABS
Consulting raised concerns about the building in a preliminary seismic
evaluation. Their findings also showed that the cost to retrofit the
building were more than what was raised in the bond election.  As a result
the bond monies were expended and the district pursued replacing the
building. Their structural concerns were not confirmed by further
investigation by the District but their conclusion was cited in the Berkeley
High School South of Bancroft Master Plan Draft EIR, dated September 26,


Upon learning of this history, being a prudent and cautious administrator, I
asked the principal if we could move the students and storage now instead of
waiting three months since we were going to have to move out soon anyhow. We
have had several questions from the public on this issue. In reality we just
thought it would be better to act now rather that three months from now if
we could, especially since we had to do so soon in any case. 


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