Eight months after construction began on the Exploration Building and Gold Gymnasium on the Santa Monica High School Campus, SMMUSD community members gathered to celebrate the completion of the buildings’ frames. In keeping with a centuries old Scandinavian tradition, the final steel beam of each building was lifted into place, topped with an evergreen tree meant to symbolize that the building has reached its final height and serve as a good luck charm, according to Project Director Nathan Huntley of McCarthy Builders.

Attendees at the event, which included SMMUSD Board members, Samohi Principal Marae Cruce, Chief Operations Officer Carey Upton and other district staff, teachers and students, also signed the beams before they were lifted away.

Both buildings are expected to be completed by Fall 2024. Once open, the Exploration Building will serve as a flexible learning space and the Gold Gymnasium will expand the campus’s athletic facilities with multiple courts, workout and fitness spaces, yoga and dance studios and more.

The two buildings are being constructed as part of the third phase of the Samohi Campus Plan, a multi-year, multi-million dollar project to redevelop and renovate the campus. Funding for the work comes from Measure SMS, which was approved by Santa Monica voters in 2018.

Grace Adams is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University where she studied Spanish and journalism. She holds a Master’s degree in investigative journalism from City, University of London. She has experience...