Generations of Braves descended on the Baldwin Park High School campus for a groundbreaking ceremony on July 13, marking the start of construction of the new school gymnasium.
The Braves’ new gym is one of the first projects funded by Measure AE, a bond approved by Baldwin Park voters in 2018 for the expansion of school safety, security, and enhanced learning facilities.
BPHS students, staff and alumni were joined by District and city leaders, as well as representatives from the offices of U.S. Representative Grace Napolitano, State Sen. Susan Rubio, State Assemblymember Blanca E. Rubio, and members of the Baldwin Park Business Association.
The ceremony included a reunion for all ages, bringing together Braves alumni, current students and community members, to enjoy the celebration with music, food and classic cars. The event was staffed by vendors who were BPHS alumni. Members of the Associated Student Body also sold memory books and pieces of the gym floor for $5 to support future activities.
Baldwin Park High alumni – from the graduating classes of 1957, 1972, 1978, 1979, 2008 and 2011 – shared their memories from band, sports and assemblies held in the old gym. Class of 1978 alumni took photos in the gym before playing a pickup game of basketball with students.
“I remember receiving my letterman jacket for baseball on this stage,” said Ricky Gutierrez, Class of 1978. “It’s sad to see the gym go, but it’s good that something newer will be in its place.”
Led by HMC Architects, Balfour Beatty and Element, construction of the new gymnasium will focus on sustainability and high-performance architecture, featuring an exposed steel structure and dramatic roof line.
The new facility will be located on the southwest edge of the school campus, next to the recently renovated athletics stadium.
The main 25,000-square-foot building will include a lobby, three full-size basketball courts, folding bleachers, a conference area and student locker rooms. Adjacent to the gym will be a 2,100-square-foot building with two additional physical education and fitness classrooms.
To optimize ventilation and temperature control, building materials will include insulated exterior walls, high-efficiency dual-glazed windows, exterior sunshades and high-performance cool roofs. Construction is expected to be completed in fall 2024.
“The gym shows its age so it’s time for an upgrade; it’s long overdue and it will be great to have it brought up to modern times,” said Fred Swift, a recently retired BPHS assistant principal, who graduated from the school in 1966 and dedicated 26 years to improving the school’s science program before becoming an administrator. “When other schools come to play our teams, they can respect not only our athletics but also our facilities.”
Baldwin Park High School and its gym were built in 1950 and completed in 1951. The high school’s first graduating class walked the stage in 1954. Since then, the gym has supported countless sporting events, concerts, plays, dances and assemblies.
The project was overseen by the Citizen’s Oversight Committee, consisting of Cruz Baca, Daniel Damian, Annalynn Apolinario, Javier Enrique Vargas, Rocio I. Rodriguez, Norma Olmos, Gen Escobosa and Santiago Mercado.
“Baldwin Park High is made up of caring and dedicated staff members and families who are committed to ensuring the success of our students. Construction of a new gymnasium will provide our Baldwin Park Braves an updated space to practice, play and compete at the highest levels,” Baldwin Park High School Principal Eric Lopez said.
BPUSD_BPHS Gym_1: Baldwin Park Unified held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Baldwin Park High School gymnasium on July 13, marking the beginning of construction of a new facility. Pictured from left to right: retired Assistant Principal Fred Swift, BPHS Assistant Principal Dr. Josefina Steinmetz, District Assistant Superintendent of Student Achievement Dr. Angela Salazar, Superintendent Dr. Froilan N. Mendoza, BPHS Principal Eric Lopez, BPHS ASB Director Ashley Garkow, District Associate Superintendent of Business and Operations Marc Chaldu, and District Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Dr. Christine R. Heinrichs.
BPUSD_BPHS Gym_2: Baldwin Park High School’s new gym will feature a lobby with a large public display panel, three full-size basketball courts, folding bleachers, a conference area and student locker rooms.