Wednesday, May 21, 2008

South Region High School No. 15

There is a growing group of members of OUR community who have been brought together in a great organization to fight the placement of a new 1,215-seat senior high school on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur.

The group, Neighborhoods Organized and Involved to Support Education (NOISE) has established itself as a force to be reckoned with, even by employees and management of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).

NOISE, which can be reached by using has been able to watch senior members from LAUSD seemingly attempting to jump through hoops to try their best to have an unwanted campus built so far out towards the ocean, in San Pedro.

I shouldn't go on without informing folks that I was a founding cor-committee member of this great group of residents, and I will defend them and their actions as best as I can.

Having this blog is one reason that I am no longer a member of the core-committee or the 'facilitator' for the group. The group has done so very well and is seeming to grow in membership daily, that they certainly don't need me to help them, much at all.

I do continue to vigorously oppose the construction of SRHS 15 at the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur because of two simple, but strongly overwhelming reasons.

When the Point Fermin Outdoor Education Center (PFOEC) has had its redevelopment completed, as early as Summer, 2009, it will usher in a dramatic change in its operation and campus that is has been providing outdoor experiences to upwards of 8,000 LAUSD students, each year, for about the last 20 years.

The PFOEC will grow in physical size and have many new outdoor landscaping changes done to provide great experiences for attendees.

It will also have a brand new dormitory structure that will allow 160 students and their teachers to arrive on Monday afternoon and stay until Friday Morning. Then, another 120 students and teachers will arrive Friday afternoon and stay until Monday morning.

The new facility will become year-round, instead of its past Summer-only schedule and it may become the gem of the crown of LAUSD.

The redeveloped site would overlap areas proposed to become part of SRHS 15 and there would be massive transit and parking problems if both facilities existed directly next to each other.

I believe NOISE and I share the same thoughts that the Point Fermin Outdoor Education Center will offer a genuine unforgettable set of educational experiences and just plain fun times for approximately 13,000 mostly fifth graders from throughout the LAUSD system.

I think the PFOED should be allowed to flourish without having a large high school placed, sharing a common fence. The other two LAUSD Outdoor Education Centers have any campus near them.

The second issue why SRHS 15 must not be built on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur, more lovingly called 'Angel's Gate' is that there is absolutely no possible way to provide even the chance of finding an acceptable ingress and egress pattern for both the school campus and the PFOEC.

The use of Alma Street in that particular area is completely out of the question, even though the preliminary illustrations for the new campus show Alma as the ONLY access road to and from the new campus, and the PFOEC is left completely out of the picture.

Many individuals claim that Gaffey Street must be used. That is a true statement. But how folks think the majority of traffic generated for the school and the PFOEC will use Gaffey, is another issue, all unto itself.

Some folks claim that the steep, narrow, L.A. Parks and Rec.-owned Barlow Saxton Road, that intersects Gaffey at 32nd Street, should be used.

Please come on! All one has to do is drive to that intersection and look at that road behind the locked gate to know that is must not be used.

Others believe, as I do, that the ONLY way to provide any sort of least unreasonable access to both a new campus and the PFOEC is to have LAUSD use their right of eminent domain to condemn and buy at least one house and lot on 30Th Street, to create an opening large enough for ingress and egress to both campuses.

LAUSD and one member of the Board of Education seemingly swear that they would not use their right, but then there is absolutely, positively, no way to adequately provide anything close to reasonable access to both facilities, and I surely bet that many folks in the Facilities Division of LAUSD know this, but are unwilling to state the obvious.

This blogger has only two reasons for opposing SRHS 15 at Angel's Gate, but NOISE and many others have more reasons that you may wish to communicate with them about.

There are those who believe that another large public senior high school campus is not needed in San Pedro at this time. Some folks will state the fact that enrollment is declining within LAUSD, so a new campus may not be needed.

Others feel strongly that the suggested over crowding at San Pedro High School can be mitigated in other ways, such as building a new large multi-use building in an area of the existing campus that has no buildings on it, what so ever.

Others claim that any high school with THREE operating gymnasiums (like San Pedro High School will have when the new gym is completed) cannot be "over crowded".

One thing is factual and has been confirmed by LAUSD officials and a member of the Board of Education; Building any new high school campus in San Pedro will NOT ease classroom over crowding at San Pedro High School. The high school has the majority of classrooms, not counting Physical Education classes, with a 40 to 1 student to teacher ratio, and that will NOT change if a new campus is built. has many posts with quite a bit of information about the proposed new campus and the existing campus and you are most welcome to view those posts, any time.

My current bottom line is that I believe there MAY be a need for a new senior high school campus in San Pedro. It must NOT be built on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur.

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