Attorney John O'Dowd, who graduated from Tucson High and sits on the school's site council, has asked the State Historic Preservation Office to issue an opinion about TUSD's construction plans, focusing largely on efforts to revamp the gym, which was built in 1938 with funding from the Works Progress Administration.
"I respect Mr. O'Dowd's
opinion, but I can tell you that there has been quite a bit of discussion about keeping in perspective the historical nature of the existing gym, and that has been reflected in the plans."
Among the complaints:
â— The old gym's basement will be abandoned and used for storage, while the second floor will be converted in part to hold mechanical equipment.
It will change the students' experience, O'Dowd
contends, from an urban, multistory design to a one-story suburban experience.
â— The windows on the east side of the building are proposed to be turned into doors, reversing the original design.
â— The new building, he
said, too closely mimics the older building's art deco ornamentation, which creates a false sense of historical development.
â— The new parking garage, which he
calls a "bland pre-cast concrete style," conflicts with the existing campus and the surrounding historical neighborhoods.
never really liked the design of the old gym, which was designed by master architect Roy Place, whose work also included the Hotel Congress
, Bear Down Gym and the Pioneer Hotel.
"That whole stage of his
career I could have skipped, but it is a classic representation of architecture of the time," O'Dowd