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Community Center Begins Its Expansion

The long-awaited expansion of the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center neared completion Tuesday when half of a 7,700-square-foot building was moved from Burbank to the center in Pacoima.

“I’m really glad we’re finally at this point,” said Michael Motoyasu, a center board member and project chairman. “It’s been a long, long road.”

It took nearly three years of planning and cutting through bureaucratic red tape to prepare for this week’s move, Motoyasu said.

The building was donated by Lockheed Corp., which had planned to demolish its employee cafeteria.

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The center paid to have the former cafeteria cut into four pieces and moved to Pacoima, as well as legal fees associated with the permit and transfer process.

Two of the four parts were moved Tuesday night, with the remaining two pieces scheduled to be moved Wednesday night.

Movers placed the pieces on wooden blocks, where they will rest until they are lowered onto the foundation and patched together.

The work should be completed by April, when an open house is scheduled.

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The new building, which will bring the center’s total space to 20,000 square feet, will provide room for an auditorium, offices for counseling, a lobby and a counter area.

Established in 1951, the center currently serves 29 organizations and more than 1,000 families. It provides a meeting place for fishing, dancing, senior citizen, Japanese calligraphy and judo groups, among others.


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