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The Valley

L.A. Unified Gets Discount on Site

February 19, 2004|Stephanie Stassel | Times Staff Writer

City Council members have agreed to sell a mold-infested Sun Valley office building at a significantly reduced price to the Los Angeles Unified School District, which plans to demolish it to make way for a new high school.

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to sell the Anthony Office Building to the school district for $37 million, a 26% reduction from the $50-million price tag agreed upon in August 2001.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday February 20, 2004 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 65 words Type of Material: Correction
New school -- An article in some editions of Thursday's California section about Los Angeles' sale of the Anthony Office Building property in Sun Valley to the Los Angeles Unified School District incorrectly said the facility to be built there would be the first new school in the San Fernando Valley since 1971. Another high school is due to be completed this summer in Northridge.

At the time, school officials had planned to convert the building at 8501 Arleta Ave. into a high school to relieve crowding at nearby Francis Polytechnic High.

But two months later, after construction crews discovered that the building had toxic mold, school officials delayed the conversion. They later predicted that the structure would need to be razed.

"We won't be able to reuse the building," said Guy Mehula, head of new construction for the district. A new proposed master plan for the 31-acre parcel will enable the district to "really get the most from the site," he said.

Tentative plans call for building a 1,600-seat high school for $93 million, which includes the $37 million for the property. The majority of the funding would come from Proposition BB, a 1997 school bond measure.

The target opening date is September 2007. It would be the first new high school in the San Fernando Valley since 1971.

A middle school with about 1,000 seats is also being considered for the site, said Shannon Johnson, school facilities spokeswoman. The estimated cost of the middle school is $32.8 million, with funding to come from Measure K, a $3.35-billion school construction bond approved in 2002.

"This is an area in dire need of all types of seats," Johnson said. "We're trying to figure out what's best for the community, and we're looking to them for input."

The school district will prepare environmental documents for the state as well as a master plan for the school board to consider, possibly in November. Escrow will close once school board and state officials approve.

Personnel from a Department of Water and Power office and a water quality lab, who once worked in the building, have moved to other locations.

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