BRENTWOOD—The Archer School for Girls is likely to win city approval for an expansion project which has pitted the school against Brentwood residents for years.
The school first proposed its expansion plan four years ago. The original plan would have upgraded existing facilities, created new arts and sports centers and added an 200-car underground parking lot. The proposed construction would have taken an estimated six years to complete.
Brentwood residents fought hard against the initial plan, arguing that years of heavy construction would increase traffic congestion and adversely impact surrounding neighborhoods.
Representatives from Archer argued that the expansion is necessary, and should be approved without further delay. “We have been renting venues and busing kids all over the city for athletics and performing arts,” head of school Elizabeth English told the Los AngelesTimes. She contends that the expansion will allow Archer to provide its students with reliable access to the same types of facilities that other area schools have.
Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Bonin recently brokered a compromise between the two groups. Under the terms of the compromise, Archer agrees to complete all construction in three years–half the time initially proposed. The school will also scale down the scope of its proposed arts center, drop plans for a sprawling new aquatic center, and get rid of field lights and an outdoor sound system.
The compromise also includes specific provisions to combat traffic congestion and noise pollution. Under the new agreement, Archer is responsible for creating an integrated worksite traffic control plan to reduce neighborhood impact. To reduce weekend and nighttime noise, the extracurricular use of the school’s new facilities will be strictly limited.
Despite the projected success of this compromise, Bonin and the school have only won the endorsement of one out a dozen neighborhood groups that originally opposed the plan. A new opposition group, the Sunset Coalition, has emerged to represent the views of those still not convinced.
An online petition sponsored by the Sunset Coalition claims that ,“Archer’s plan as recently voted on by the Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM) is TOO big and TOO impactful.” The petition asks Councilman Bonin to postpone the upcoming City Council vote on the expansion plan. Over 500 people have already signed the petition. The head of the Sunset Coalition, David Wright, has announced plans to sue if the plan is approved on schedule.
If the project is approved, Archer expects to start construction in 2017.