A new administrative headquarters for the Los Angeles Community College District could be built at one of its campuses for a cost of between $9.1 million and $14.6 million, depending on which of the seven possible sites is chosen, an architectural firm reported Wednesday.
Under consideration as a location for the proposed building are sites on or adjacent to the campuses of Los Angeles City College, Trade-Tech College, Valley College, Southwest College, West Los Angeles College and the aeronautics facility of West Los Angeles College near Los Angeles International Airport. Southwest would be the cheapest place to build; Valley the most expensive.
The district staff is expected to make a final recommendation in two weeks, with a Board of Trustees decision to follow soon afterward. Los Angeles City College and Trade-Tech are the favorites because of their central location but parking at either site could pose big problems, officials said.
The district wants to leave its politically controversial rented headquarters at 617 W. 7th Street in downtown Los Angeles and build a replacement for financial and symbolic reasons. Critics have nicknamed the current offices the Taj Mahal and say the facilities are too lavish and the $1.25-million annual rent too high for a money-strapped district that had been considering faculty layoffs two years ago. District officials say they want to move the administration closer to faculty and students.
However, the architects' report cautioned that such a move can not be done before the 10-year lease on the current offices expires in mid-1989. Because many of the sites may require zoning or height district changes from the city or county as well an environmental impact report, construction probably could not even begin until mid-1989 and likely would not be finished until late in 1991, the report said.
The study by the Los Angeles architectural firm of Bolling, Gill, Allen and McDonald gave price estimates for the seven sites, as well as advantages and disadvantages of each. Those were:
- $14.0 million to build on the City College site, now a parking lot on the east side of Vermont Avenue between Monroe and Marathon streets. This location is close to the Hollywood Freeway and would be near a proposed Metro Rail station. However, it would be necessary to replace 300 student parking places that would be eliminated.
- $12.5 million to build across from Trade-Tech on Grand Avenue between Washington Boulevard and 21st Street. That would displace a child-care facility and 200 parking spaces, but the site is convenient to both the Harbor and Santa Monica freeways.
- $14.6 million if one of two possible properties at Valley College is chosen. One is on Oxnard Street next to Grant High School and the other off Burbank Boulevard at the southeast corner of the college campus. These were described as the most pleasant, but public transportation may not be adequate and it would be very difficult for employees and visitors to walk to restaurants for lunch.
- $14.6 million to build on a current parking lot at Stocker and Freshman drives at West Los Angeles College. There is room to replace that parking elsewhere on campus and the construction would affect the college's other operations less than at any of the other sites. However, public transportation is not good and "the existing food service is at best minimal."
- $10.97 million at the aeronautics facility at 98th Street between Sepulveda and Vicksburg avenues. The programs there now are to be moved to the main campus of West Los Angeles College and that may delay construction of the district headquarters at this site. In addition, it is not close to most of the district's schools and also presents problems with bus service and dining facilities.
- $9.1 million at land now owned by Caltrans on Normandie Avenue near Imperial Highway adjacent to Southwest College. Caltrans might not want to sell the property and dirt from freeway construction dumped there could be troublesome to remove. In addition, the location may be inconvenient for many employees and food service is not good.
District staff previously concluded that the other campuses--Harbor, East Los Angeles, Mission and Pierce--either were too far away or did not have enough land. The current headquarters, where officials say the lease can be extended for a few years, is 105,000 square feet and home to about 400 employees. The district is planning for a new building of 94,000 square feet.