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Expansion of Center Nears Completion

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

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

It took nearly 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 the 7,700-square-foot employee cafeteria.

Center officials paid to have the former cafeteria cut into four pieces and moved to Pacoima. Legal fees associated with the permit and transfer process also were paid by the center. Two of the four parts were moved Tuesday night, with the remaining two pieces scheduled to be moved Wednesday night.

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

Established in 1951, the center serves 29 organizations and more than 1,000 families.

The additional space will provide room for dancing, calligraphy classes, judo groups and other activities.

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