Monday, January 14, 2008


by Paul Clinton, Staff Writer, Long Beach Press Telegraph

January 14, 2008 - At a community meeting scheduled Wednesday, district planners will discuss demolition of a Long Beach warehouse to build a high school for Carson students.

The Los Angeles Unified School District's choice of location - approved by the board in April - has riled neighbors and triggered a lawsuit from the city of Long Beach that could be decided in late February.

Work is scheduled to begin later this month on the 330,000-square-foot building at Carson Street and Santa Fe Avenue.

While the school has yet to win plaudits from neighbors or the two cities, it would reduce crowding at maxed-out Carson High and Banning High in Wilmington.

A high school with 67 classrooms and a sports stadium with 1,500 seats would be built at the 14-acre site. The district would open the doors to 1,900 students in the fall of 2012.

Work on the property will proceed, even though Long Beach has challenged the district's environmental review on the grounds that the school doesn't provide enough parking for students. Mike Mais, an assistant city attorney, also said his city wants to preserve the area for industrial businesses.

"One of our biggest contentions is they've designed the project with no parking for the students, which makes zero sense in any context," Mais said. "If you look at the demographics of where these kids are coming from, they're not coming from the immediate neighborhood."

The school would be adjacent to Dominguez Elementary School to the north, a container storage yard to the south and the San Diego (405) Freeway to the east.

District spokeswoman Shannon Haber declined to comment on the Long Beach lawsuit. But Roderick Hamilton, a district regional development manager, defended the district's analysis of the project.

"We think our (analysis) is quite complete and accurate and complies with the law," Hamilton said. "We think we've looked at all of the impacts."

Both parties in the suit will appear in Los Angeles Superior Court on Feb. 29, when a decision could be rendered.

LAUSD purchased the property from Taiwanese consortium International Industrial Properties in December.

Following the community meeting, LAUSD will begin demolishing the warehouse, a process that could take three months.

The district's contractor has said he will water the site to minimize dust particles in the air, Hamilton said.

The district would then award a construction contract and begin building the school in the summer. The school will cost $149.8 million to build, district records show.

▲4LAKids 2¢: While the City of Long Beach is basing their objections on environmental grounds, it doesn't take too much conclusion-jumping to realize that this particular site removes 14 acres of prime industrial land and $100,000.00 a year from the tax rolls. Yet this school will not educate Long Beach children — who attend Long Beach Unified School District Schools. A student who lives at the new schools address (there aren't any) - or next door - would not be entitled to attend this school, a voter who had this address couldn't vote for (or against) the school board member

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