Mira Costa High School's new athletic pavilion is set to open next school year, just in time for the school's 70th anniversary.

The Manhattan Beach high school broke ground in February 2019 on the gym complex, and the Balfour Beatty construction team is set to complete the project on July 31.

School and Manhattan Beach Unified officials, and the district's bond oversight committee, a citizens group that oversees how the district spends bond money, took a hard-hat tour of the structure this week.

The $38 million athletic complex is 78,000 square feet, said Ben Dale, Mira Costa High School principal, arguably the second largest high school gym in Southern California.

The Mustangs' new home is funded by the 2016 Measure EE, which raised local tax dollars to replace the school's previous, 67-year-old facility.

The complex will hold the main, Fisher Gym and a smaller gym, tentatively called the Pavilion, for community use and open gym time, said Dawnalyn Murakawa, deputy superintendent for MBUSD. 

The two gyms create a complex, tied together by two rooms for dance, yoga and flag team; two wrestling areas, a 30-student classroom and an after-school recreation room.   

A hall of fame will don large frames of 14 of Mira Costa's historical top athletes, including those who competed in non-gym sports. The school is still choosing those who will be honored in the hall of fame.

Outdoor, concrete stairs take you to the bottom of the complex as well as to Waller football Stadium. The football and soccer fields, on either side of the complex at different elevations, are connected to the building, providing access to both fields from inside the gym.

The main gym will seat 2,400 people, nearly the entire 2,600 student population, Dale said, while the smaller gym seats 200. Its size is usually only seen at the collegiate level, with three basketball courts and a four-feet higher clearance than a typical high school gym, equipped for NCAA volleyball games. 

Aside from team and P.E. locker rooms, visiting teams will have their own entrance and exit doors, and locker room space. 

An upper weight room is guarded by a glass, garage-like door overlooking the track and football field, that can be lifted for access to the outside. It's tied together with the lower weight room, a design which Balfour Beatty compared to a 24 Hour Fitness, and the outside is protected by a mesh covering to prevent weights from being tossed over.

The athletic training room, for sports medicine, has windows on the field side to allow trainers to see into the weight room and pass ice and equipment out to those on the track and football field. There will also be a TV monitor showing what's going on in the main gym, so athletic trainers are always aware of injuries and players' needs. Monitors will be placed in almost all the complex's spaces, Dale said, so anyone can log into a live feed of the Fisher gym's activity. 

A glass-paneled "VIP" deck will allow some to watch football games from the top floor inside the complex. There will be ample other space for staff and public use. 

The athletic pavilion is set to be complete July 31, and will open for use following an all-day event, likely on August 29, Dale said, the first Saturday of the 2020-21 school year.

Opening day will include a girls' volleyball game, the first official match in the new gym, and games for Mira Costa alumni.

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