By Nadra Kareem | San Fernando Valley Business Journal Staff
10/13/2008 - Educational institutions are responsible for creating by far the largest number of construction projects in the Valley. Below, the Business Journal provides a roundup of education-based construction projects in the area —elementary, middle and high schools and community colleges. While the projects differ in scope, the common thread is that they are each part of a renaissance of sorts in education-based construction in the area. In many cases, the projects mark the first time Valley schools will be equipped with the types of facilities needed to transform their grounds into first rate campuses.
The Los Angeles Unified School District currently has more than 40 new construction projects underway in the San Fernando Valley and outlying areas.
The $45 million Fulton College Preparatory School will be built on on district-owned land at Fulton Middle School. It will consist of two small learning communities and contain 30 classrooms. STV/ R.L. Binder is the architect.
Sylmar and Porter Ranch will be home to new K-8 schools. In Sylmar, the district will spend nearly $63 million to build 41 classrooms to relieve overpopulation at Dyer, Herrick, Hubbard and Sylmar elementary schools and Olive Vista and San Fernando middle schools. IBI Group will serve as architect.
Porter Ranch’s proposed $55 million K-8 school will sit on 12.8 acres on the east side of Mason Avenue and the south side of Sesnon Boulevard. It will contain 41 classrooms, relieving overpopulation at nearby Castlebay and Germain elementary schools and Frost and Lawrence middle schools.
No architect has yet been named.
Panorama City is home to two proposed elementary schools. The most costly of the two is a $75 million project that will sit on 5.46 acres on the northeast corner of Lanark Street and Cedros Avenue. The school will contain 38 classrooms, relieving crowding at Burton, Chase, Noble, Panorama City, Ranchito and Valerio elementary schools.
North Hollywood is home to an elementary school currently in construction and a recently completed elementary school. The completed school—Maurice Sendak Elementary School—cost $41 million to build. It sits on 4.15 acres at 11414 W. Tiara St. and has 35 classrooms, a library, an administration area and a multi-purpose room with outdoor/indoor stages.
Leidenfrost/Horowitz & Associates was the architect and Turner Construction Co. served as general contractor.
A number of community colleges in the Valley have major construction programs underway. The entire campus of College of the Canyons is getting a makeover sorts, and schools in the Valley that belong to the Los Angeles Community College District are also undergoing a number of construction such as Mission College, at which ongoing construction will serve to give the school a more academic setting, according to President Judith Valles.
“The history of this college is that it didn’t have any buildings,” Valles told the Business Journal in August. “It was all in storefronts. The college started originally in ’75 with storefronts all over the city. It was a dream from the founding faculty to eventually have actual buildings. It’s going to be a pride of the Valley.”
Approximately 40 projects are either in process or have recently been completed at Mission. Among the five most highest-priced construction projects are a $51.6 million family and consumer studies building and a nearly $49 million fitness center. Both projects are currently in progress. Recently completed is the $23 million Parking Structure A. Rounding out the top construction projects at Mission are a $13 million child development center and nearly $6 million of construction work on the campus’ general infrastructure. Both of these projects are ongoing.
On May 21 officials celebrated the completion of a $1.9 million solar farm built on top of a new parking structure. College officials said they expect to save about $80,000 per year in reduced energy costs.
Valley College recently completed construction of its approximately $65 million Allied Health and Sciences Center. Other work at the school includes a library and learning resource center with a cost of $56 million, a new student service center valued at about $27 million and a new education building at a cost of $24 million. Rounding out the Top 5 most costly construction projects at Valley is $22.7 million of campus-wide improvements, including work on the college’s central plant and major upgrades to the utilities infrastructure.
Pierce College is also a gigantic construction site. Their most expensive project is the $53.4 million Center for the Sciences.
Valley is also spending about $37 million on campus improvements to utilities. Is this Pierce? Rounding out the top most costly construction projects at the school are a $22.5 million student services building and a $20 million general P.E. facilities building.
The College of the Canyons’ campuses in Valencia and Canyon Country have a multitude of work underway. The adjunct Canyon Country campus, opened a year ago, is currently an all-modular facility and six two-story buildings totaling 240,000 square feet are planned, according to spokesman John McElwain. On Sept. 11 at the main campus, COC celebrated the grand opening of its 21,543-square-foot physical education building which cost $10 million project and includes six tennis courts.
In Summer 2009, COC plans to open the $38 million Dr. Dianne Van Hook University Center, a 110,000 square foot facility that will provide space for public and private colleges and universities to offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs on campus.
As existing construction projects are underway, COC is planning future construction projects, including a 52,000-square-foot expansion of its 37,345 square foot library and a major expansion of Mentry Hall, the college’s Media and Fine Arts facility.