Multistory Facility to Cost $40 Million : L.A. Unified Plans South Gate High

Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles Unified School District officials are planning a $40-million, three- to four-story regional high school for eastern South Gate.

Roger Friermuth of the district's school planning branch said the district has chosen a 29-acre site for the school and is working with South Gate officials to minimize the disruption the project will cause in the community.

The school is expected to relieve South Gate and other high schools in the Southeast area enough to end mandatory busing because of overcrowding, Friermuth said. It will probably be a year-round school, he said.

The site, now largely devoted to light industry, is on the east side of Atlantic Avenue, bounded by Wood Avenue on the north and Adella Avenue on the east. It extends a block and a half south of Tweedy Boulevard to the alley behind Aldrich Road.

No Effect on Post Office

The site also includes 47 dwellings. As part of the planning process, the district is developing a plan to assist the displaced families and businesses in relocating, Friermuth said.

Some of the businesses may move to the commercial and industrial complex the city is developing on the site of the closed General Motors plant, he said.

"We would not take the post office" at Atlantic and Chakemco Street. Friermuth said. "The post office would be our neighbor."

Houses on Aldrich will probably be undisturbed as well, Friermuth said.

Andrew Pasmant, South Gate's director of community development, confirmed that city officials have had cordial but very preliminary meetings with the school district about the school.

'It's Too Early to Tell'

"On the surface everything looks fine," said Pasmant, who added that he has not yet made a detailed study of the site.

"It's too early to tell," he said.

The district estimates the cost of the property, now divided into 69 parcels, at $17 million. Friermuth said the property would actually be acquired in nine months to a year. Appraisals and an environmental impact study must be completed before the land can be bought.

The high school, scheduled to open in 1991, will serve 2,000 or more students from South Gate, Bell and Cudahy, whose schools are now so crowded that some students are bused into nearby Watts and the San Fernando Valley, an hour's drive away.

"Our indications are that the new school should eliminate the need for transportation because of overcrowding," Friermuth said. "They still may have to have a year-round schedule, at least for the short term."

The school, which will cost about $32 million to build, will be the first new high school in the district since 1971.

Although an architect has yet to be retained, Friermuth said, the main building will probably be three to four stories with about 230,000 square feet of usable space and 100 classrooms.

Design Allows 3,000 Students

Building up instead of out will allow up to 3,000 students on a site smaller than the 45-acre standard set by the state without sacrificing open space for sports fields and other uses, he said.

"We want to go high-rise but we don't want to dominate the neighborhood," he said.

Friermuth said that working closely with South Gate on the project is only prudent. "Before we go too far, we want to make sure the community is behind it," he said. "Instead of doing it the hard way, we're doing it the easy way."

The planner said no special problems are anticipated for the project but noted that some tension is inevitable whenever people are displaced.

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