Broke LA School District building half a billion dollar school

Rick Moran
It's actually a cluster of schools - K-12 - but still represents the most expensive school building project in American history.

Wall Street Journal:


The cluster of schools is situated on the premises of the old Ambassador Hotel where the New York senator and presidential candidate was shot in 1968. The school district insists that it chose the site not merely for sentimental reasons, but because it was the only space available in the area and the property was dirt cheap.

[...]

I asked Mr. Rubin whether some of the school's grandiose features-like florid murals of Robert F. Kennedy-were worth the cost. "Did we have to do that? Hell no. But there's no accounting for taste," he responded.
Talking benches-$54,000-play a three-hour audio of the site's history. Murals and other public art cost $1.3 million. A minipark facing a bustling Wilshire Boulevard? $4.9 million.

The Kennedy complex is Exhibit A in the district's profligate 131-school building binge. Exhibit B is the district's Visual and Performing Arts High School, which was originally budgeted at $70 million but was later upgraded into a sci-fi architectural masterpiece that cost $232 million.

Even more striking is Exhibit C, the Edward Roybal Learning Center in the Westlake area, which was budgeted at $110 million until costs skyrocketed midway through construction when contractors discovered underground methane gas and a fault line. Eventual cost: $377 million.

The people of Los Angeles voted for this bond issue so I suppose they are pleased with the way the school board is spending that money. Even if they aren't, it's too late now. 

The district has a debt of $640 million and has fired 3,000 teachers in the last two years. But hey! They've got talking benches so at least that's better than nothing, right?



It's actually a cluster of schools - K-12 - but still represents the most expensive school building project in American history.

Wall Street Journal:


The cluster of schools is situated on the premises of the old Ambassador Hotel where the New York senator and presidential candidate was shot in 1968. The school district insists that it chose the site not merely for sentimental reasons, but because it was the only space available in the area and the property was dirt cheap.

[...]

I asked Mr. Rubin whether some of the school's grandiose features-like florid murals of Robert F. Kennedy-were worth the cost. "Did we have to do that? Hell no. But there's no accounting for taste," he responded.

Talking benches-$54,000-play a three-hour audio of the site's history. Murals and other public art cost $1.3 million. A minipark facing a bustling Wilshire Boulevard? $4.9 million.

The Kennedy complex is Exhibit A in the district's profligate 131-school building binge. Exhibit B is the district's Visual and Performing Arts High School, which was originally budgeted at $70 million but was later upgraded into a sci-fi architectural masterpiece that cost $232 million.

Even more striking is Exhibit C, the Edward Roybal Learning Center in the Westlake area, which was budgeted at $110 million until costs skyrocketed midway through construction when contractors discovered underground methane gas and a fault line. Eventual cost: $377 million.

The people of Los Angeles voted for this bond issue so I suppose they are pleased with the way the school board is spending that money. Even if they aren't, it's too late now. 

The district has a debt of $640 million and has fired 3,000 teachers in the last two years. But hey! They've got talking benches so at least that's better than nothing, right?