Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Private School Facilities Arms Race

Monday, November 19, 2007, by Marissa Gluck from Curbed LA

[Rendering of Brentwood School's Aquatics Center from Parallax Associates web site]

It seems LA's public schools aren't the only ones buildings bright, shiny new facilities for the young 'uns. Sure, the $600 million building boom currently taking place within the hallowed halls of LA's private schools is a mere drop in the bucket compared to the billions (yes, billions) the LAUSD is now spending to build new schools. A couple of LAUSD schools will have some nifty features like space-age theaters, but will they have an aquatic center? Private schools looking to attract the offspring of rich Brentwood parents are building new aquatic centers, "that looks like a modern equivalent of the Greco-Roman baths of ancient Alexandria" (naked same-sex wrestling not included), new libraries with digital media studios and firepits, and science labs with all the newest equipment (for making your own crystal-meth). While private schools are working to remain competitive with new facilities, some detractors feel the money may be better spent financial aid and higher teacher salaries. Surprisingly, these schools are feeling the heat not just from each other, but also from LAUSD's investment in new schools: "private educators are looking over their shoulders at the government funds pouring into public school improvements and the potential competition from public charter schools, which are attracting curious families who previously might have selected private education."

A building boom at L.A.'s private schools [LA Times]

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