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South Bay Digest

Torrance : Two Schools 'Expendable'

June 05, 1986

The Torrance school board has decided to dip into its stock of closed campuses and sell or lease two of the sites to help pay for educational programs.

Chosen for disposal were the Meadow Park and Grace Wright schools. Officials of the Torrance Unified School District said adult education and community programs at the two schools will be dispersed to four other campuses--Levy, Hamilton, Jefferson and Newton. The latter two will be closed to regular classes at the end of the school year as part of the district's continuing effort to consolidate its 19,000-student population. Levy and Hamiliton were shut down as regular campuses several years ago.

Paul Mackey, a district administrator, said daytime adult classes also may be added at South High and at the system's four other high school campuses to utilize space there more efficiently.

He noted that enrollment at South High has fallen to about 1,600--half of the level in the 1960s when total district enrollment peaked at nearly 35,000.

Mackey said the board's decision earlier this year to designate Jefferson and Newton as "land-bank" schools raised to six the number of closed campuses held in reserve in case enrollment turns up in future years and there is a need for additional classroom space.

"But we only need four schools in the land bank, so two became expendable," he said.

He said Meadow Park and Wright were selected for disposal because both are in business districts near Hawthorne Boulevard, making them least desirable as potential school sites while enhancing their commercial value.

No estimates are available on the value of the two sites, Mackey said, but an appraisal will be made soon. The board will appoint a citizens committee to advise it on whether to sell or lease the property.

Under state law, school districts must offer to sell campuses for public uses before they can be sold to private buyers. Mackey said Torrance officials have indicated that the city will not put in a bid for Meadow Park and Wright schools.

The city and school district recently resolved a lengthy dispute over the use of the closed Greenwood campus with the city buying it.

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