From atrium to art

Torrey Pines High School group transforms neglected space

By Torrey Pines Foundation

Due to the volunteer effort of scores of Carmel Valley teenagers, including members of Troop 713 Boy Scouts of America and the school’s associated student body, Torrey Pines High School has a new sustainable sculpture garden celebrating the school’s various athletics and performing arts programs.

The volunteers converted two glass atria of the school totaling nearly 1,000 square feet, which had been allowed to go fallow because of water shortages in San Diego and school district budget cuts, into an oasis of sustainable art. It now features 8-foot-tall steel silhouettes that represent the school’s various extracurricular activities.

The project was completed after 367 volunteer hours of Carmel Valley-area students and parents. Matt Spelich, an Eagle Scout and president of the associated student body, conceived the project.

“The goal of an Eagle project is to mobilize and motivate a team of fellow Scouts and others to do something of real value for their community and it’s nice to be able to, in this case, also do something for the school that has done so much for me,” Spelich said.

Spelich, also a co-captain of the TPHS varsity basketball team, said the project was an effort to give something back to the school in the form of sustainable and “green” beautification. The project was selected in consultation with TPHS Principal Brett Killeen.

“While all art is subjective, hopefully people who see value in what we accomplished will appreciate what we’re trying to celebrate, which is a positive and vibrant school environment that is helping prepare thousands of young people for the future,” Spelich said. “I really want to thank Principal Killeen and the TPHS staff for their support on this.”

Supporters of this project include the Torrey Pines High School Foundation Sports and Arts liaisons, who helped underwrite costs associated with the project, as well as Laura McKay of the Torrey Pines Art Department for arranging contribution of a mural in conjunction with the exhibit.

Area companies that contributed products and services or discounts on materials and labor also enabled the project. Jim Richardson of Carmel Valley Collision Center provided free paint and staff time to prepare the 24 silhouettes. He also allowed the free use of his shop to prepare the silhouettes.

Barry Spooner of Crafted Metals Inc. of Spring Valley contributed by cutting the steel silhouettes out of quarter-inch steel sheets. Fritz Quindt of True Turf Inc. of Escondido provided a deep discount for the artificial turf used to replace the dead foliage in the atria. Home Depot and El Camino Rentals also offered discounts on materials and equipment rental required to complete the project.

— Torrey Pines Foundation