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LAUSD Begins Construction of Central Los Angeles Learning Center #1 on Ambassador Hotel Site

For Immediate Release
Contact:                                                                                          	November 20, 2006
Binti Harvey:  (213) 241-4575; (213) 215-7204 mobile 		# 0607- 217

New Heritage K-12 education complex honors the past by building the future

(Los Angeles) - Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board Member Mónica García, 
retired Superintendent Roy Romer, Max Kennedy, labor leader Dolores Huerta, former senior 
aide to Robert F. Kennedy Paul Schrade and LAUSD officials will join elected officials, 
community members and parents to celebrate the commencement of construction of Central 
Los Angeles Learning Center #1.  The school, located on the site of the Ambassador Hotel, will 
provide critically-needed neighborhood schools for over 4,000 students, uniquely linking past, 
present and future visions of Los Angeles. 

"This is a tremendous victory for the children and families of this community who have waited for 
years for a neighborhood school," said Board Member García. "This ceremony symbolizes a 
new beginning where we fulfill our promise to graduate every child prepared for college and the 
21st century workforce."

"Today marks another step towards delivering on our promise to help end overcrowding and 
provide the best possible learning environment for our students," said recently retired 
Superintendent Roy Romer.  "Once opened this learning complex will serve students and their 
families from kindergarten through high school; it will build a community of learners where 
students, teachers, principals, parents, and businesses can collaborate to build a high quality 

The community surrounding the Ambassador site contains the most overcrowded schools in the 
District.   The campus will relieve five severely overcrowded schools:  Belmont High School, Los 
Angeles High School, Berendo Middle School, and Hoover and Cahuenga elementary schools.  
The integrated K-12 campus at the Ambassador site will consist of three separate school 
buildings: an 800-seat K-3 primary center, a 1,000-seat 4-8 middle school and a 2,440-seat high 
school.  This landmark educational facility will preserve historically-significant elements of the 
legendary Ambassador Hotel, and once complete, the academic program will offer core 
curriculum instruction that commemorates Robert F. Kennedy's legacy. 

"Much of my father's life was reaching out to the young to inspire them to seek and make a 
better world," said Maxwell Kennedy.  "For my mother and my family these new schools can be 
a fitting reflection of that spirit, and can serve as a living, achieving memorial to my father."

An LAUSD Advisory Commission of historians, community members, and engineering and 
design professionals recommended preservation and reuse of some historical elements of the 
Ambassador Hotel site to memorialize the life and legacy of Robert F. Kennedy.  The original 
1920's Embassy Ballroom ceiling will be integrated into a dramatic and spacious new library, the 
Cocoanut Grove will serve as the new school auditorium, and the lower level shopping arcade, 
including the Paul R. Williams-designed coffee shop, will be used as faculty and student lounges 
and cafeterias.

The campus will also feature a new public park along Wilshire Boulevard honoring Robert F. 
Kennedy.  An innovative and dynamic partnership between the District, the City of Los Angeles 
Mayor's Office, the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), and a creative team comprised 
of the project architect, its landscape designer, and a team of local artists commissioned 
through the Public Art program are developing designs for this park facility.  Maintenance, 
security, and financial contributions in support of the park are anticipated from these joint-use 
partners to ensure its accessibility to the community even during school hours. 

"Robert Kennedy was a champion of those who suffered disadvantages in our country. He was 
actively engaged in helping people help themselves, "said Paul Schrade, former senior aide to 
Robert F. Kennedy. "This new K-12 learning center will educate and empower our young to 
struggle for economic and social justice; there is no better way to advance the living legacy of 
Robert Kennedy."

The new facility will serve over four thousand students, separated into multiple campus areas, 
buildings, and small learning communities. Kindergarten students will have designated 
classrooms and play areas as will the primary grade students. The 4th through 8th grade school 
will be divided between grades 4-6 and grades 7-8, with each group enjoying their own 
gathering and recreation areas. The high school will be separated into five small learning 
communities with specialized curricula tailored to meet the educational needs of the students. 
The gathering areas and play fields for each campus component will be designed so that a 
sense of community, identity, and security are emphasized while maximizing useable space and 
complying with relevant educational requirements. 

"The design and concept of this campus demonstrate how LAUSD is delivering on all of the 
promises of the new construction program," said Guy Mehula, Chief Facilities Executive.  
"These new schools will create new classroom space in an area of critical need, get students off 
of the bus and into school in their neighborhood, and create joint-use opportunities that enhance 
the landscape of this community."

The LAUSD opened 13 new schools this year, eliminating involuntary bussing for all elementary 
school students and returning 98 schools to a 180-day, full-year calendar. Central Los Angeles 
Learning Complex #1 is part of the LAUSD's $19.3 billion school construction program to build 
more than 150 schools by 2012.   The program is designed to provide a neighborhood school on 
a traditional calendar for every student, eliminate involuntary bussing and create small learning 
communities in every high school.  To date, LAUSD has completed 65 new schools and 46 
additions, providing 68,000 new classroom seats for students throughout the District.

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