Venice High Campus to be Modernized by 2021


Andrea Lo

New modernization designs for Venice High were presented at a community meeting by the LAUSD Facilities Services Division on Nov. 29. It will cost approximately $111.5 million.

Venice was one of 11 schools selected by LAUSD’s Board of Education in March 2015 to be modernized. A total of 584 campuses were evaluated for possibility of modernization. Schools were selected based on their condition and physical state, such as earthquake safety. The plan to update Venice High was approved on Feb. 9.

The project is planned to last two to four years and be complete by the end of 2021.

LAUSD is currently conducting environmental studies on campus. The studies will take 12 to 18 months. Approval for the project will take an additional ten to 12 months.

For the historic buildings, which include the Administrative, East, West, and Far West Buildings, LAUSD plans to only give them fresh paint and repair flooring.

So far, the architects of this project have come up with three different design concepts. All three concepts have some of the same features, including a parking lot on the corner where the softball field currently sits, and plans for three new buildings: a lab sciences building, a shops building, and a new gymnasium.

The first concept emphasizes the largest outdoor quad area out of the three concepts. This plan includes locating the new sciences building on the current parking lot on Venice Boulevard, and connecting it to Cunningham Hall. The baseball field will stay where it currently is, but the softball field will move to the current West Gym location.

The second concept also includes a new sciences building connected to Cunningham Hall, but the shops building will be in between the football field and the East Building. The softball field will be adjacent to the baseball field, where the tennis courts are currently situated.

The third concept has all three new buildings adjacent to each other. The softball and baseball fields will each be on either side of the football field.

Additionally, the bleachers on the football field will be renovated, and a rubber track will replace the current one.

An earlier proposal to demolish Cunningham Hall has been rejected. According to the Facilities Development Manager of the Facilities Services Division, Scott Singletary, the building has very spacious classrooms and serves its purpose well.

As for other construction projects at Venice, the installation of heating and air conditioning was completed and cost $15 million to complete. The new student store and lunch shelter will start construction in the beginning of 2017 and end in the third quarter of 2018. It will cost $7.3 million. Another project to improve collaboration spaces and restrooms will cost $2.7 million and take place from 2017 until 2019.

Those who attended the meeting that evening in the cafeteria included residents in the neighborhood, Venice High teachers, alumni, parents, and a few students.