Chamlian Armenian School looks to expand enrollment

Citing a long waiting list, Chamlian Armenian School officials are looking to increase enrollment to 700 students, up from its current cap of 500.

Rodney Khan, a Glendale-based land use consultant, filed paperwork requesting the enrollment change with the city's planning department on behalf of the school in late February.

He said the school has room, noting just 24 of its 30 classrooms are used at any given time by the kindergarten through eighth-grade students.

"They've had a waiting list for many years," Khan said. "But the student capacity always prevented them from having these additional students come in."

In 2011, when the school's proposal for building a 35-foot-tall gymnasium went before the planning commission, it was denied, following neighbors' concerns that the gym would be too intrusive and add to existing traffic concerns.

Although that vote was overturned by the City Council, a Design Review Board in early 2012 denied its design, citing the gym as too boxy and out of place with the rest of the neighborhood.

But the 9,345-square-foot gym was eventually approved with a unanimous vote by the City Council in February 2012, clearing the way for its construction.

City planner Roger Kiesel said that when the school's gym was approved for construction, it came with the condition of an enrollment cap.

"There's been a cap for a number of years," he said, adding that it was in place before the gym was built.

Now with weeks before the gymnasium opens its doors, Chamlian Principal Vazken Madenlian said school officials believe "timing is pretty good" to request to alter its enrollment.

"We have to turn down a lot of students," he said.

Chamlian's proposal would come before the planning commission for their approval in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, Khan said school officials are considering busing students to the school, and perhaps establishing a pick-up and drop-off area at St. Mary's Armenian Apostolic Church, which is located near where many of Chamlian's students reside, he said.

He said the school's security guard and others strictly help regulate the morning and afternoon traffic, and that the school would continue to be proactive in addressing traffic issues.

"We're also strongly encouraging carpooling," he added.


Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.


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