Trustees voted to close down the large gym at San Ramon Valley High on Tuesday because its concrete structure would not withstand an earthquake, said Terry Koehne, spokesman for the San Ramon Valley Unified School District.
"It's basically unsafe during a major earthquake," he said.
The district notified parents immediately through e-mail after the board decided to close the gym, starting Wednesday, Feb. 6. The board received an analysis last month from an engineer that the gym's structure would not resist an earthquake.
"It was sudden," said Principal Joseph Ianora. "This facility has been at the high school for 60 years. One day it was open; one day it's closed."
"It's sad," he added. "It's a piece of tradition."
The old gym is made of concrete, which makes it susceptible to crumbling when a serious earthquake transpires, said Richard Lowell, district director of facilities. The school currently has three gyms: an old small gym, a new auxiliary gym and the big old gymnasium. Lowell said the small and auxiliary gyms are earthquake-resistant.
The auxiliary gymnasium is made of wood, which is flexible. It has an aerobics and wrestling room and a dance hall. Additionally, it has a medical training room and a full girl's locker room.
The district plans to demolish the large gym and build a new one in its place. The project is part of the school's master plan, which includes adding other new facilities and renovations, and will be funded by Measure A. The demolition will be in the summer, Koehne said. The new gym that will replace the large old one will cost from $7 million-$8 million, said Richard Lowell, district director of facilities.
"It's very exciting," Ianora said.
"In the long run, it's going to be amazing," said Carol MacPhail, school curriculum leader.
Since the big gym is now closed, the boys varsity and junior varsity basketball games are being played at Dougherty Valley High School. Girls basketball games and practices, as well as physical education classes and volleyball, will be at the small and auxiliary gyms.
Campus officials at San Ramon Valley High said the old gym contains a rich history.
"It's mixed emotions," Ianora said.