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Armenians Act to Buy Canoga Park School

The Los Angeles school district moved closer to selling its first surplus campus Wednesday when an Armenian group exercised its option to buy an empty Canoga Park elementary school for $2.6 million.

The Armenian General Benevolent Union asked school officials to open a 30-day escrow for the 20-classroom Oakdale Avenue Elementary School. The 25-year-old, 6.3-acre campus at 6844 Oakdale Ave. is one of 19 West San Fernando Valley schools that have been closed by the Los Angeles Unified School District since 1982 because of low enrollment.

The Armenian group made a $150,000 down payment for the campus in July, after another group hoping to buy it ran into financial difficulty. Wednesday was the school district’s deadline for the option to be exercised.

Armenian leaders, who plan to use the school for 250 students, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. They had earlier announced that they had raised $2 million for the purchase and were seeking another $1 million from fund-raisers and benefactors.

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Los Angeles school board members authorized Oakdale School’s sale a year ago after failing to find alternative uses for the property. They blamed its shutdown on the low birthrate, few young families moving into the West Valley and the defunct 1978-1981 mandatory integration program that prompted some families to remove their children from public schools.

A Lake Elsinore-based development company seeking to turn the campus into a retirement community was the winning bidder for Oakdale School last November. However, that company filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code in April, prompting school officials to invite the Armenian group to take over the purchase.


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