The South Pasadena Unified School District Administration building has so many gorgeous details, like these whimsical multicolored bricks and stunning art nouveau decorative panels. The 1928 structure was built by the architectural firm of Marsh, Smith and Powell, the creative force behind the design of South Pasadena’s original Public Library building as well as the Middle School. Once known as El Centro Elementary school, the building was converted to the administration HQ in 1979. That year, El Centro combined with Lincoln elementary and the newly joined student body voted to change the name to Arroyo Vista Elementary school.
You can still see vestiges of the old El Centro school as you walk around the administration building. The historic quarter-ton bronze school bell rests in the front lawn. But what I find more endearing are the little kid-sized porcelain water fountains mounted along the outside corridors. You have to lean pretty far down to get a drink, but when you do you can connect with the decades of South Pasadena children who learned to read and write within the walls of this lovely structure.
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