October 22, 2001 Vol. VI, No. 5

Academy High School Project Moving to Next Phase

LAUSD Planning Nov. 7 Public Hearing on Project's Environmental Impact Report

After months of study, the Los Angeles Unified School District is preparing to move forward with its plans to develop a special academy high school on the Cal State Northridge campus in joint venture with the university.

District officials have completed a draft environmental impact report on the planned 115,000-square-foot project, which would be built on the university's 5.3-acre Zelzah Court property just south of the University Park Apartments. In exchange, CSUN would receive the nearby Prairie Street School site from the LAUSD.

The project would be the LAUSD's first new regular high school in the San Fernando Valley in 30 years. The school would have a special emphasis on preparing students for teaching careers, and would draw its students via applications from several LAUSD high schools in the surrounding area to help reduce overcrowding there.

The district is planning a public hearing on the project's draft EIR and its companion environmental assessment at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, in the Grand Salon of the University Student Union. The hearing will include presentations by the district and the opportunity for the public to comment on the reports.

As proposed, the high school would host 888 students at any one time and total 1,243 students on a year-round schedule in grades 9 through 12. The district expects the school to have 74 faculty and staff. Parking for students and staff will be provided in a 228-space underground parking garage beneath the school.

The school would include 38 classrooms, a library, an auditorium, administrative offices, a cafeteria and food service area, a fitness center and a gymnasium, a student store, and basketball courts. The school also would use CSUN science and language labs, and university athletic fields up to about 10 acres under a shared-use agreement.

Ron Norton, CSUN's director of Environmental Health and Occupational Safety, said one issue raised in the project's documents was the discovery of some very low-level pesticide residues in topsoil on the site, presumably from long ago when the area was used for agriculture. The LAUSD would have to remove such materials.

The public review period for draft EIR and environmental assessment began Thursday, Oct. 18 and will continue through Monday, Dec. 3. The two documents are available locally for public review at CSUN's Oviatt Library reference desk, and at the Northridge Branch Library, West Valley, 9051 Darby Ave.

Written comments may be sent to LAUSD, Office of Environmental Health and Safety, Attn: Cecilia Masson, 355 South Grand Ave., 6th Floor, Los Angeles, California, 90071. Written comments also may be submitted at the public hearing or by fax to LAUSD at (213) 633-7100.

The LAUSD Board of Education is scheduled to consider certification of the EIR for the high school project at its regular afternoon meeting on January 22, 2002. To address the board, members of the public must register by calling the executive officer of the board at (213) 625-6273 no later than 10 a.m. on January 22.

@csun | October 22, 2001 issue
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