With an application currently undergoing review at the Los Angeles City Planning Department, plans are underway for the construction and renovation of several facilities and buildings on the campus, starting in phases between 2013 and 2015. In an interview with Canyon News, Lowart said the project was necessary to keep up the “tradition of excellence” at this Catholic, college preparatory school with a 100% graduation and college acceptance rate.
“School improvements have been on the agenda here for many years, for over 10 years,” Lowart said. “Now we’re in a position where we are fundraising and can be focused on the projects.”
At the top of the list of improvements is a new aquatic center. With an estimated cost of $1.5 million, it would replace the swimming pool originally constructed in 1961 which fails to meet modern requirements for water sports such as swimming and water polo.
“We have to send our teams off campus to compete at other pools because our pool is too small and too old. It doesn’t have the depth requirements for water polo,” Lowart said.
Given its long history, the high school has had quite a few renovations over the years. The library is already undergoing construction and will be completed in the next month. The past decade has seen the addition of several buildings and improvements from an arts and technology building in 2003 to a science building in 2008 as well as stadium enhancements. Notre Dame High School invested $15 million in these past improvements.
Regarding the new development plans, Los Angeles City Planning Department will make a decision in a meeting in September. But city approval is only one factor of the project’s success. Another major factor is funding, which has already started and is “making some decent progress,” Lowart said.
Of course, no high school can be an island unto itself and while students may enjoy the modernized facilities, Notre Dame High School has several hundred neighboring residents and thousands of community residents to take into account. The project is on the agenda for discussion with the Sherman Oaks Community Council in August.
“All of our projects, we’ve communicated with neighbors about, the reasons why we’re doing them and we’ve had frank discussions about what the impact would be on the neighborhoods,” Lowart said. “We’re not doing anything in the dark of night— we want everybody to be as excited about it as we are.”
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