Revised plan for troubled L.A. school

July 01, 2003 |

The Los Angeles Unified School District has approved a new plan to complete the long-delayed Belmont Learning Center project, which has already cost more than $154 million.

Construction at the 34-acre Belmont site, at the edge of downtown L.A., was halted in 1999 after the discovery of underground gasses emanating from the former oil field beneath the site. An underground fault line was also subsequently discovered.

Under the revised plan, three buildings that are 60% complete will be finished, at a cost of $80 million for design modifications and completion of construction. The designers for this phase of the project are expected to be selected by August. Because the development is now regarded as a new project, it will be subject to environmental reviews and approval of its various aspects by the school board. The project is expected to take two to four years.

Two buildings located above the fault line will be demolished. The program for the site also includes construction of a new auditorium and cafeteria at a cost of $10 million. A public park of at least 10 acres is a new site feature of the revised plan. The board's overall plan includes the construction of three additional high schools in central L.A. to relieve overcrowding.

School Superintendent Roy Romer is credited with spearheading the compromise that revived the Belmont project.

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