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Education officials on Monday unveiled plans for a new Santa Monica High School that will include new synthetic turf football and soccer fields, more parking and a new science and technology plaza. The cost is estimated at $235 million. (photo by Rendering Provided By Santa Monica-malibu Unified School Distric)

SAMOHI — When today’s fifth graders begin their high school careers, they will be the first class of students to enjoy a series of new campus facilities that will come online here.

On the 100th anniversary from when the inaugural set of freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors stepped foot onto Santa Monica High School, the first major construction project funded by Measure BB — the $268 million facilities improvement bond approved in 2006 — will be completed.

School officials on Monday unveiled a $235 million master plan for the Samohi campus, showcasing an ambitious series of projects that will involve constructing a new synthetic turf football and baseball fields, upgrading the Greek Theater and building a pedestrian and bicycle promenade that will cut through the heart of the high school, connecting the Pico Neighborhood to the Civic Center.

The presentation, called “Samohi Today and Tomorrow,” gave the community a recap of the high school’s history and accomplishments and provided a glimpse into what the campus will look like starting in 2013 when the first major project — Science & Technology Plaza — is completed.

“Samohi’s facilities are cramped, outdated and many cases they’re non existent,” Superintendent Tim Cuneo said. “We need to move forward and we need to think differently.”

The projects, which will begin construction in July, will be split into four phases with the completion of each one coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the school’s first four graduating classes.

The Science and Technology Plaza, which will break ground in November 2010 and cost around $57 million, will include 15 new state-of-the-art labs, an auto shop and 18 new classrooms. The plaza will also hold a temporary softball field and parking while the permanent athletic facilities are being constructed.

It will be followed with the construction of a 60-foot-wide pedestrian and bicycle promenade that will run through campus from Fourth to Seventh streets. The proposed promenade is slated to be open and accessible to the public during non-school hours.

“It reunites the city that it serves,” said Michael Hill, a 1961 Samohi grad who is serving as a district consultant for the Measure BB project.

That phase, which will be completed in June 2014 and cost $58.1 million, will also include a new synthetic turf football field with an eight-lane CIF track inside a 3,000 seat stadium. Six new tennis courts will also be constructed next to the field and a subterranean garage holding 500 spaces will go beneath the stadium.

District officials are seeking City Hall to help finance some of the projects in which there are joint-use opportunities available, hoping to receive funding through the Redevelopment Agency. The City Council is scheduled to review the joint-use projects at a meeting later this month.

School officials called on the community to pressure the council to approve the redevelopment money for the joint-use projects, a key piece of the funding pie.

The third phase, which will be completed in 2015, will include the construction of a regulation-sized soccer field in the current north parking lot off Olympic Drive. A new facility that will include a gymnasium, Olympic-sized pool and dance studio will be constructed beneath the soccer field. The series of projects is estimated to cost approximately $118.3 million.

The projects will conclude in 2016 with the completion of new synthetic turf softball and baseball fields and lighted basketball courts. The final phase will also include upgrades to the storm water management system and Greek Theater, all costing about $58.6 million.

“This is truly a legacy opportunity for all of us in Santa Monica,” Hill said. “Let’s move into the next century with Samohi.”

melodyh@smdp.com

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