Major renovation projects for athletic programs are almost always complicated projects.
Redondo Union High School (Redondo Beach, Calif.) began the process about 10 years ago. In an added twist, the school changed athletic directors shortly after the project was underway.
Around 2008, Redondo Union received a grant for about $90 million, with about $45 million earmarked for athletics. The previous athletic director left in 2010, and Andrew Saltsman took over as the renovation ramped up.
The money went toward new locker rooms, a new gym, the remodel of an existing gym, a new aquatics center, and several other major and minor modifications across the campus.
Of the many concerns Saltsman has to track, one of them surrounds coordinating with coaches and school officials on the scheduling of practice and event venues so the athletic teams don’t miss a beat.
“Our water polo and swimming teams had to travel to another school site to find some pool time, and wrestling had to go to another school for a period of time,” Saltsman says. “They did the construction and renovations in stages so we could schedule around some of it, but there were always some challenges with walkways and getting around in addition to finding time at alternate facilities. We had to move some people around, but at least we have two gyms. While one gym was being built, the other was being used, and vice versa.”
Redondo Union has become a force in California athletics. The girls’ volleyball team won state titles in 2014 and 2015, the boys’ and girls’ water polo teams each won their first California Interscholastic Federation titles under Saltsman’s watch, and the baseball team also won its first CIF title in 2015.
“We’ve had a lot of first-timers recently,” Saltsman said. “Baseball started in 1915 and we won our first CIF title in 2015, so that was a pretty historic year and pretty cool to win it 100 years later.”
Strong Academics Make For A Strong Athletics Program
Redondo Union emphasizes school first and sports second, and Saltsman can point to the academic performance of Redondo Union athletics. Student-athletes average between a 3.3-3.4 GPA while non-athletes average between a 3.1-3.2 GPA.