Harvard-Westlake Eyes OK for River Park Plan

Harvard-Westlake, a personal preparatory faculty for grades 7-12 situated in Studio Metropolis, is within the ultimate phases of acquiring metropolis approval for a controversial campus enlargement proposal.

The proposal, formally known as Harvard-Westlake River Park, includes a whole transformation of the 17-acre property at present dwelling to the Weddington Golf & Tennis Membership. It might exchange current amenities with new athletics amenities and a public park, serving each college students and members of the neighborhood.

“I actually assume it’s a win-win,” stated Terry Barnum, director of athletics at Harvard-Westlake.

Plans for River Park embrace two athletic fields with bleacher seating, a operating observe, a gymnasium advanced, a swimming pool, eight tennis courts, 6 acres of public park, a strolling path and an underground parking zone. It additionally includes the relandscaping of native timber and quite a few different go-green initiatives to honor the open-air nature of the land.

And whereas the varsity intends to maintain its established athletic amenities –the varsity at present has one discipline, a fitness center and a pool – the main need for enlargement stems from the athletic division’s present state of congestion.

With a pupil physique inhabitants of roughly 1,600, it’s no shock the present structure doesn’t permit for a lot flexibility. Barnum says the system the varsity makes use of now requires a rotation, forcing groups to observe late into the night time.

Barnum stated if accepted, the proposal would open the door for Harvard-Westlake to create new groups, reminiscent of women lacrosse and women flag soccer, each of which the varsity at present doesn’t have area for.

“Increasing alternatives for all college students, however specifically feminine athletes, is one thing that not solely is essential to me personally, however is likely one of the issues that as a division at Harvard-Westlake we’re seeking to do … and River Park goes to permit us to try this,” Barnum stated.

Most opposition to the mission comes from neighbors, who’re citing environmental, noise and site visitors considerations.

“This can be a mission that’s, fairly truthfully, the least intrusive to the neighborhood,” Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Business and Commerce Affiliation, stated. Waldman stated this mission is comparatively low-impact, and different potential usages might’ve been a lot worse, reminiscent of constructing industrial or multifamily properties.

Because the Weddington golf course at present operates, members pay a month-to-month payment to make use of the amenities. River Park would enhance public entry as a number of acres of land could be designated open area for public use.

As a way to guarantee public entry and engagement is met, Harvard-Westlake has established a mess of community-wide partnerships. These embrace Mates of the Los Angeles River, the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, Particular Olympics of Southern California, and Angel Metropolis Sports activities.

“It’s the faculty’s dedication to share this exceptional facility with schoolchildren from throughout L.A., neighborhood teams and native residents,” Richard Commons, president of Harvard-Westlake, stated in a press release.

Harvard-Westlake first bought the land in 2017 for $40 million, however promised to proceed to function it as a golf course and tennis facility whereas the proposal went by town planning fee course of. “That was our dedication to the neighborhood,” Barnum stated.

Nevertheless, as that fee course of is at present underway, these subsequent few weeks will probably be very telling as to what the longer term state of the park will appear like.

There are two extra public listening to on the horizon – though the dates haven’t but been introduced – in addition to a number of metropolis council conferences. If accepted, Harvard-Westlake would subsequent proceed with the method of acquiring constructing permits in hopes of seeing the event come to fruition.