High school gym named for local family

Eight months after offering generous donors a chance to see their names placed permanently on prominent school buildings, La Cañada Unified School District has announced its first taker.

La Cañada High School’s north gym will now be the Hotchkin Family Gymnasium after residents Jan and David Hotchkin made a five-year pledge that puts their cumulative contributions to the district in excess of $1 million, Supt. Wendy Sinnette said at a school board meeting Tuesday.

The Hotchkins moved to La Cañada with their two children, Jonathan and Carolyn, in 1997 and quickly took on leadership roles with the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation and the Flintridge Guild of Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, among other groups.

Jan Hotchkin also worked as a teacher specialist at Palm Crest Elementary School.

“We are a community that is based largely in the work of our schools and that tends to unify us,” Sinnette said. “I feel like this naming opportunity is very well placed. The Hotchkins are longtime La Cañada residents. They have become highly involved in the community.”

David Hotchkin is a principal with the Pasadena-based Anchor Pacifica Group, a real estate investment and property management firm with two dozen apartment complexes in its portfolio. As a member of the foundation endowment committee, he was among those who came up with the naming rights proposal, but he said Tuesday he never imagined he would be the first donor to see his name on a school facility.

“We didn’t really seek the honor, but we are honored by it,” he said. “I hope it will be an example set for other families to make similar contributions of time and effort to the schools.”

The gym is one of many La Cañada Unified facilities and programs made available under a naming rights policy approved by the board in December. To generate revenue, the board established specific dollar thresholds for naming rights, including $1 million for the La Cañada High School football stadium and library, $750,000 for elementary school playgrounds and $100,000 for classrooms.

Previously, school officials could name a facility after an individual in recognition of a significant contribution, financial or otherwise.

Having buildings named after local families builds a sense of community within the district, said school board member Andrew Blumenfeld.

“It is a nice and readily apparent demonstration of the sort of place that La Cañada is,” Blumenfeld said.


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