BURBANK -- Contaminated soil in the parking lot of Burbank Unified
School District’s new headquarters is delaying the relocation of some
departments that were scheduled to move into the Olive Avenue building
last weekend, school officials said.
The delay is likely to last at least five months while the
contaminated soil is being cleaned, said Ali Kiafar, assistant
superintendent for planning, development and facilities.
The district relocated about half of its offices into the new
building at 1900 W. Olive Ave. from the old Buena Vista Street site a
week ago, said Kiafar. Non-instructional departments such as facilities,
personnel and business have made the move but most of the instructional
offices will not be relocated until the parking area is given a clean
bill of health by the city’s Fire Department.
A separate parking area was not affected by the contamination,
allowing some of the district administrators to work at the new building
now, officials said.
Kiafar said that as a stipulation on the closing of the escrow of the
parking lot, the current owner of the land will have to submit a plan to
Burbank’s Fire Department to install a vapor extraction system to clean
up the land.
“We won’t close the escrow until the fire department approves the
plan,” said Kiafar. The land, which the district has agreed to purchase
for $550,000 from businessman Sarkis Adzehemyan, was previously used for
a gas station, he said.
“This is not like the problem our neighboring school district has,”
Burbank school board member Mike McDonald said at Thursday’s board
meeting, referring to contamination that has halted construction at
Belmont High School in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
“No offices will be built on that land,” said McDonald.
The $4.5-million relocation of Burbank Unified School District has
been in the planning stages for a year, Kiafar said. The district intends
to stay in the Olive Avenue building for about 10 years, until it is able
to build a new headquarters on property it purchased on Glenoaks
Boulevard adjacent to the Police and Fire headquarters.
Kiafar said potential noise from the vapor extraction system has
caused concern among nearby property owners. The district is working with
those neighbors to come up with a plan to clean the soil with as little
disruption as possible, he said.
School Board member Elena Hubbell said the relocation delay was
“Any time a gas station closes these are the type of things that need
to be done,” Hubbell said.