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Hamilton Theater
507 S Palm Dr, Novato, CA 94949
The landmark theater at the former Hamilton Field Air Force Base was built in 1934 but has been closed since 1994. It isMore owned by the city of Novato, but there are no plans for renovation. It is one of several former air base buildings on the list of locally significant buildings with the National Register of Historic Places. Despite its architectural value, it has been used for fire district personnel training.
YMCA
3 Hamilton Lndg, Novato, CA 94949
YMCA of Novato is a relatively new facility built in one of the old Hamilton Air Force Base hangers. This 11,000 squareMore foot facility offers a wide variety of health services including child care, gym facilities personal training and group classes including yoga, Pilates, cycling and zumba.
U.S. Armed Forces Recruiting Office
1559 S Novato Blvd, Novato, CA 94947

Recruiters from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps share an office at the Nave Center shopping area at CenterMore Road and South Novato Boulevard. Recruiting has picked up in Marin County as young people seek ways to attend expensive colleges and serve their country with pride, one recruiter at the office said.

It's best to make an appointment by phone with any branch of the services; many times the recruiters are working out of offices in nearby cities or are out in the field. The office hours in Novato can be irregular and often the front door is locked. However, business cards are available outside the office and potential recruits can make an appointment to meet a recruiter at that office.

Beso Bistro and Wine Bar
502 Palm Dr, Novato, CA 94949
The site of the old Hamilton Cafe, which closed in April 2011, was reopened as Beso Bistro and Wine Bar in DecemberMore 2012. Leo Correa and his wife, Erika, made some significant upgrades to the city-owned historic building, which was part of the original Hamilton Army Air Field (which later became Hamilton Air Force Base). The Correas also own Picante Taqueria in San Rafael. Beso offers California cuisine with an emphasis on seafood. Watch for a signature Peruvian dish from Leo Correa's mother country, called lomo saltado, a kind of beef stir fry. 
Safeway, Hamilton Marketplace
5720 Nave Dr, Novato, CA 94949
The newest Safeway in Novato is at Hamilton Marketplace, a shopping center that caters to the burgeoning neighborhoodsMore near the former air force base. This location, opened in 2007, took the place of an aging Safeway at Pacheco Plaza shopping center about one mile away. The new one has a Jamba Juice, a Starbucks, a Wells Fargo desk and a DVD kiosk. Customers can also enjoy fresh baked goods from the bakery and store-made deli treats. Outside, there is a gas station that gives discounts to those with Safeway club cards.
Hamilton Old Gym
115 San Pablo Ave., Novato, CA 94949
Hamilton Gym was a hotbed of activity during the days when the Hamilton Air Force Base was thriving and miltaryMore personnel and their families lived in that corner of Novato. Now that the base is decommissioned and Hamilton is a residential area. The gym isn't quite as lively. However, the old place is an important part of the indoor recreational options available to Novato residents. City rec league teams and youth sports teams use the courts mostly for basketball. The adjacent bowling alley and boxing club are now closed.
Hamilton Field History Museum
555 Hangar Ave, Novato, CA 94949

The newest museum in Novato, the Hamilton Field History Museum, opened in May 2010 and drew many airmen who onceMore served at the former air base. The grand opening took place on the 75th anniversary of the dedication of Hamilton Field. The base was operational from 1935 to 1974, first as an Army Air Corps field and later as a station for the U.S. Air Force. Hamilton is named after a World War I flier from Marin who was killed in action in France.

The museum, a rebuilt firehouse erected in 1934, was renovated by a crew of volunteers and was years in the making. It is a joint venture between the city and the Novato Historical Guild. Inside are hundreds of artifacts from the base's heyday, including photos, uniforms, pins, medals and a cockpit simulator. There is a library and research center full of books, posters and videos. Volunteers, curators and docents actively seek additional items from the public to place on display.

U S Coast Guard Pacific Strike Team
350 Hangar Ave, Novato, CA 94949
The Pacific Strike Team answers the call to marine disasters all over the United States such as the Gulf oil spill. TheyMore are known best for rapidly deploying with specialized equipment and incident management skills any time to any place or hazard. Many in the highly trained crew, based the southernmost hangar at the former Hamilton Air Force base, live with their families in the Spanish-style military housing enclave at the southern end of Hamilton. The team is connected closely to personnel at Coast Guard Island in Alameda and two other strike teams in the U.S.
Hamilton Meadow Park School
1 Main Gate Rd, Novato, CA 94949

Hamilton Meadow Park School serves one of the newest sections of the city, one that has blossomed in the past 15More years out of what used to be Hamilton Air Force Base and the residential area known as Hamilton Field. Today it's just called Hamilton, and its citizens run the gamut from white collar to welfare recipients.

The school is just off the Highway 101 frontage road called Nave Drive, and a stone's throw from the vintage Hamilton Field archway on Main Gate Road.

The student body is comprised of kids mostly from Hamilton (including the sector called Meadow Park) and the nearby Pacheco Valle area on the other side of Highway 101. Enrollment plunged when the Air Force and other military personnel moved out in the early 1990s, but the student population has bounced back as new housing was built over the past decade.

The school is one of eight elementary schools in the Novato Unified School District, but it also has sixth and seventh grades to accommodate the need in the area and slow the flow of students to San Jose Middle School in Ignacio. In 2010-11 it is scheduled to add eighth grade as well.

Hamilton has 27 classrooms, a multipurpose room/cafeteria, a library, two staff lounges, a computer lab, an art/music room and two large playgrounds.

Hamilton's elementary API index for the 2008-2009 academic year was 845. The state has set 800 as the score schools should strive to meet.

As of the 2009-2010 school year, the ethnic breakdown of the student body included 44.8 percent Hispanics, 37.7 percent whites, 8.4 percent African Americans and 5.3 percent Asian Americans. The sixth graders were 52.1 percent whites, 36 percent Hispanics, 5 percent Asian Americans and 4.9 percent African Americans.

Thirty-seven percent of the elementary students in 2009-2010 and 29 percent of the sixth graders were considered English language learners, slightly above district averages.

The socioeconomic status of the families in the Hamilton area is below  the district average. The school has 57 percent of its kids labled as socioeconomically challenged compared with the district average of 32.9 percent, according to district statistics (socioeconomically disadvantaged students are those receiving free or reduced lunch or when neither parent is a high school graduate). Forty-two percent of the school's parents had college degrees, below the district average of 53 percent.

Hamilton Pool
203 El Bonito Dr, Novato, CA 94949

This public swimming pool on Novato's south side reopened on Memorial Day weekend 2010 following a somewhatMore controversial $4.5 million renovation. The pool is now a crown jewel of the city's Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department and uses many high-tech, energy-saving devices, including solar energy panels.

The pool, which was closed for a year, was managed this first season back by the city of San Rafael under a partnership deal between the municipalities. Novato needed to contract for the services because of a lack of city staff, and San Rafael had a successful track record of operating its own pools. It was opened through Labor Day and received strong reviews from the public.

The pool had been built in the 1930s as part of Hamilton Army Air Field, which later became Hamilton Air Force Base. In recent years the Marin County Department of Health restricted the bathhouse use and the pool was leaking. Even in its deteriorating condition, it was seen as an important recreational asset worth preserving by the city. The Novato City Council unanimously approved the renovation plan in 2007 and OK'd the construction bid in February 2009 just as the national economy was tanking and Novato's lack of tax revenue was beginning to create problems. The council cited the low bid—$1 million less than expected—and the historic value of the pool as reasoning for the renovation.

Day-use passes and and season passes are available. 

Novato Arts Center
500 Palm Dr, Novato, CA 94949

A Spanish-style building from the Art Deco era serves as a lovely and appropriate home for the Novato Arts Center andMore Marin Museum of Contemporary Art. The structure was built as the centerpiece of the Hamilton Army Air Field, which later became Hamilton Air Force Base. When the base was decommissioned in 1974 and the area turned residential in the early 1990s, the city worked with its Civic Arts Commission to brainstorm how to use the facility as an epicenter for artists. After the City Council decided to create the Novato Arts Center in 1999, the building gradually morphed into studios, classrooms and gardens only a year later.

Since then, the local arts organization has provided a series of juried shows, regional and national exhibitions, member exhibits, lectures, workshops and classes. The gallery and gift shop opened in 2000 and adopted the Marin MOCA name in 2007.

The city arranges for a leasing agent to oversee the rentals of the 24 art studios in the three-building complex in Hamilton's "downtown" area. Visitors are welcome to swing through and talk to the artists at work, although many do not have regular studio hours.

The complex also is home of the nonprofit Artists of Marin MOCA, previously known as the Art League of Northern California and even earlier known as Indian Valley Artists. It was the Indian Valley group that spearheaded the effort to create a Novato Arts Center back in 1995.

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