Construction of two new buildings on the Samohi campus will kick-off next week with a groundbreaking ceremony open to staff, students and members of the community.

The buildings- the Gold gymnasium and the Exploration building- are being constructed as part of an ongoing plan to redevelop and renovate Samohi campus facilities. They are scheduled to open in fall 2024.

Stretching two stories high, the Gold gymnasium will include multiple courts for different sports, 800-seat pull-out bleachers, yoga and fitness rooms, outdoor workout areas and a dance studio. Another gymnasium, the Blue gym, is also scheduled to be built to replace the North gym, the current competition gym on the campus, as part of a future phase of the project. The existing South gym will remain in use during construction of the Gold gym.

“The new gym spaces will ensure that our physical education teachers and students feel valued as they enter their two new gymnasiums and additional spaces that will further our teaching about healthy lifestyles,” said Dr. Antonio Shelton, former Samohi Principal and the current director of secondary education for SMMUSD, in a press release from the district. “I believe our school community takes pride in the multiple physical education opportunities provided to our students and this is just the beginning of what will become a sports and physical education complex on the Samohi campus.” 

The Exploration building is intended to be a multi-purpose, flexible-use space and will host facilities for project-based learning programs, as well as visual and media arts studios. 

“The new and improved facilities will give our students state-of-the-art spaces that allow them to fully grow and embrace their health, body and mind,” said Carey Upton, Chief Operations Officer for SMMUSD, in the same press release. “The design continues our transition from prior buildings featuring boxed-in learning spaces that restrict student creativity to flexible collaborative spaces that adapt to changing teaching and learning methods. This form of innovational design will have open air elements to maximize the use of outdoor space and take advantage of our year-round coastal climate.”

The new buildings are part of phase three of Samohi’s Campus Plan. This phase is estimated to cost 120 million dollars. The money for the project comes from Measure SMS, which was approved by voters in 2018 and allocated a total of 485 million dollars to improve Santa Monica School facilities. 

Tours of the recently constructed Discovery building will also be available to attendees at the groundbreaking. The Discovery building opened in 2021 and features 28 classrooms, close to 300 parking spaces, an Olympic-size pool and an outdoor cafeteria. 

The groundbreaking ceremony will take place Monday Aug. 29 at 3:45 p.m. at the Samohi campus. Those who would like to attend can RSVP here: Light refreshments will be served and close-toed shoes are recommended.