STORY BY SIDDHANT KANWAR, PHOTOS BY MIA BASSETT
The Los Altos Community Center held its grand opening on Saturday, complete with several speeches, a ribbon cutting ceremony (with a comically large pair of scissors) and a tour of the facility.
The ceremony began with Daisy Scout troop 61086 and Brownie Troop 60615 reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and later a member of the Los Altos Youth Theater Group singing the national anthem. Speeches thanking the community center task force and other contributors were given in the sweltering heat, notably from architects Jenna Tam and James Gweiss, Gary Hedden, former Assistant City Manager Jay Logan and community center Task Force Chair Claudia Coleman.
The new community center boasts rooms — uniquely labeled using tree species names — dedicated to all ages, ranging from teenagers to seniors.
The center’s architects gave insight into the process of building the center and its environmental impact.
Most of the 24,500 square feet of the community center are electrically powered through solar panels, leading the community center to become Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) equivalent. Gweiss described it as a “building in a park,” as the center places an emphasis on using natural lighting and wooden features.
Los Altos history museum board chair Gary Hedden spoke about the history of the community center. The center was originally a school until it was converted into a community center in 1975. In 2015, the first proposal for the center to be redone and modernized was shot down in part due to its excessive budget, but after later deliberation, the city began construction on the project in 2019.
“Every aspect of the new community center, from the architecture, landscaping, building materials and art strongly ties into Los Altos’s rich history and culture,” said Donna Legge, Director of Recreation and Community Services.
Mayor Fligor ended the ceremony by noting her predecessor’s role in the planning of the building using an analogy to relay races.
“All the different councils before us and city staff and community members are part of team Los Altos community center and each had a leg in the race,” Fligor said. “There were a few different councils that ran the first legs, and although they weren’t able to lead us to the finish line, they kept going.”
In a press release, Mayor Fligor expressed her optimism for the project.
“I hope residents will utilize the beautiful space and participate in the programs offered at the community center,” Fligor said.
For more information and updates on the Los Altos Community Center, visit losaltosca.gov/communitycenter.