LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles Unified School District is finally settling into a $400-million facility after 13 years of setbacks and problems. The campus now serves as headquarters for four different departments and a high school campus.
Officials Tuesday joined students, staff, elected officials and members of the community to debut the new location nestled in downtown LA.
“It’s a tremendous day,” said LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy, who praised his predecessors for standing by the project. “I want to be the first to say there are four superintendents’ shoulders I stand on in terms of planning the building program.”
The LAUSD Administrative Suites at the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center at 1200 Colton Street will house the LAUSD police headquarters, student health and human services, the school operations division and the district’s department of transportation, according to district officials. The campus is also home to a new high school, the Roybal Titans.
The move is touted as saving taxpayers $18 million because the district no longer has to lease property to house those departments.
Approximately 66,000 square feet of office space in the facility is divided into three distinct spaces and includes private offices, conference rooms, open workstations, interview rooms, an armory, an exercise room, and officer locker rooms with showers.
The official LAUSD art collection will also be housed in a climate- and humidity-controlled art storage area in the north suite, officials said.
The district’s supply of vaccines will be housed in the facility’s south suite, according to officials.
The campus was financed by special bonds passed by voters and developer fees.
“Developer fees are a fee that, when someone’s going to do something that’s going to bring more students to our area, they pay a fee to the school district,” LAUSD Chief Facilities Executive Mark Hovatter said.
The project was almost scrapped in 1999. During construction, pockets of oil seepage and toxic fumes were discovered at the site, which were once oil fields. Building came to a halt.
“We did have some environmental concerns with the site,” said John Sterritt, director of LAUSD’s Office of Environmental, Health and Safety. “We put the right resources on it, and we cleaned the site to the acceptable levels, and then we built the school.”
The cleanup delayed the campus opening by 13 years and cost the district $100 million.