Multi-school campus opens in Los Angeles

Sept. 13, 2010
Former site of Ambassador Hotel houses six schools

From The Los Angeles Times: The start of the traditional school year in Los Angeles also marks the unveiling of the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools complex, the much fought-over $578-million learning center that now occupies the site of the historic Ambassador Hotel. The campus, which comprises six independent schools, will unlock its doors to about 3,700 students as a maelstrom of issues buffets the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's second-largest school system. The school's delayed Sept. 13 opening is the consequence of budget cuts that shortened the school year.

JULY 2010....from The Los Angeles Times: The price tag for a complex of schools at the site of the famed Ambassador Hotel has become the Los Angeles Unified School District's most expensive school project, now surpassing $578 million. The latest cost increase approved by the school board adds $6.6 million for expenses related mostly to safety and historic preservation at the complex for 4,200 students. The main campus of the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools will open this fall. Two small schools already operate on the back portion of the 24-acre site.

SEPTEMBER 2009...from The Los Angeles Times: A new elementary school has opened at the Ambassador Hotel site in Los Angeles. Designed by the Pasadena firm Gonzalez Goodale Architects, the school extends a friendly, crisply proportioned façade along 8th Street, on the southern edge of the sprawling 76-acre site over which the hotel long presided. Inside, the two-story school wraps 46 classrooms around a pair of generously sized courtyards. It accents its combination of zinc panels and expanses of glass with a number of walls painted Creamsicle orange. An adjacent middle school and high school are expected to open next fall. Together the three schools, known as Central Los Angeles New Learning Center No. 1, will enroll nearly 4,500 students.

From JANUARY 2008: The Los Angeles Unified School District will pay $4 million to fund historic school conservation, and the Los Angeles Conservancy will drop a lawsuit that sought to preserve the once-glitzy Cocoanut Grove nightclub at the former Ambassador Hotel. In settling a lawsuit brought by the conservancy, the school system now has clearance to demolish most of the Cocoanut Grove's structure and begin building a 4,200-student K-12 campus on the site. The first of the schools to be constructed as part of the $566 million project is a K-3 building, slated to open in 2009. (Los Angeles Times)

FROM NOVEMBER 2007: The Los Angeles Unified School District has agreed reluctantly to delay demolition of the former Cocoanut Grove nightclub. The Los Angeles Conservancy sought to halt the demolition to give a judge time to rule on whether the district was breaking the law by tearing the club down. The district wants to raze the structure to make way for a 4,240-student complex on the site of the former Ambassador Hotel and says a delay could make it impossible to open the campus by 2010, as projected. (Los Angeles Times)

EARLIER: In an effort to keep intact the landmark Cocoanut Grove nightclub at the former Ambassador Hotel, the Los Angeles Conservancy has again sued the Los Angeles Unified School District. The group contends the district broke the law when it decided recently to demolish most of the Cocoanut Grove structure. The suit asks a judge to require the school system to spare the nightclub or prove why it can't. (Los Angeles Times).

Delivering yet another blow to historical preservationists, the Los Angeles School Board has decided to tear down most of the structure of the Cocoanut Grove nightclub at the former Ambassador Hotel as part of its plans to build a school there. The district had proposed converting the nightclub space into a school auditorium, but officials say the structure is too weak to withstand an earthquake. Neighborhood activists, who have been waiting for a K-12 campus for years, applauded after the vote. The Los Angeles Conservancy, which tried to block the hotel's demolition, says the board's plans to tear down the nightclub breaks its promise to the community. (Los Angeles Times)

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