N. Vermont Ave. Site Urged for Colleges' Headquarters

Times Education Writer

The Los Angeles Community College District should build its new headquarters on a North Vermont Avenue site across from the campus of Los Angeles City College, the district's staff recommends.

That East Hollywood location is more convenient and poses fewer political and zoning problems than sites being considered on or adjacent to five other campuses in the district, according to a proposal scheduled to be voted on by the Board of Trustees on Wednesday. Locations at Los Angeles Valley College and Trade-Tech College are tied for the second choice, a district spokesman said.

The district wants to leave its controversial, rented headquarters at 617 W. 7th St. in downtown Los Angeles and build a replacement it will own. Critics say the current facilities for 400 employees are too lavish and the $1.25 million annual rent too high. In addition, officials of the nine-campus district want to move closer to faculty and students for symbolic reasons.

"This is probably the best recommendation the district could have in terms of central location and access for students and the public," district spokesman Norm Schneider said Friday. "City College is well known and is the oldest of our colleges. It is of immense importance to the district to move to overcome a sense of isolation."

An earlier report by an architectural firm estimated it would cost $14.02 million to construct a 94,000-square-foot building on what is now a student parking lot on Vermont between Monroe and Marathon streets. Price estimates for the other campuses studied ranged from $9.14 million to $14.6 million.

Other Advantages Cited

However, according to the district staff, the higher cost is outweighed by the Vermont location's advantages, including: little disruption for the campus, proximity to the Hollywood Freeway, good bus service and the promise that a Metro Rail station will be built near City College.

The Valley College site was not recommended because it is not as centrally located, Schneider said, and the district wants to save the Trade Tech property for a possible revenue-producing commercial building project. Also considered were potential sites at Southwest College, West Los Angeles College and the aeronautics facility of West Los Angeles College near Los Angeles International Airport.

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