JOE BEL BRUNO Staff Reporter
In a first for the Los Angeles Unified School District and perhaps the nation officials are planning a new downtown high school that will include retail development and housing.
The proposed Belmont Learning Complex at Temple Street and Beaudry Avenue would also have businesses including Bank of America, Toyota Motors, Kaiser Permanente and Disney Studios develop curriculum geared towards career development.
“We think this is the prototype for the school of the future,” said Dominic Shambra, director of planning for L.A. Unified. “This isn’t just building a facility, but an entire new educational process.”
Shambra said the district believes Belmont would be the only school in the country to combine retail and housing developments with a campus.
The 35-acre complex would include a high school campus, 60,000-square-feet of retail and commercial space, up to 120 units of affordable rental housing and 14 acres of open space and playgrounds.
Already slated for the commercial space is a supermarket, restaurants, a health clinic, and other shops. The businesses which will serve the general public as well as students are also expected to participate in the school’s academy structure through job training and educational support.
“This will present a real unique opportunity for students and the downtown area,” said Jennifer Minow, a spokeswoman for the developer, Temple/Beaudry Partners. “This will set the school district on a new path (with) public/private cooperation.”
Belmont will accommodate 5,400 students on a year-round basis.
The financing will be completed in several phases. The school will cost an estimated $80 million, and be financed through the issuance of tax-exempt bonds which will be paid off each year by the school district.
Other portions of the project would be financed through the developers. It has not yet been projected how much the housing and retail portions of the project would cost.
Temple/Beaudry Partners will complete all design, engineering and construction tasks related to the school and commercial center. Kajima International, one of the largest design construction and project management firms in the nation, will serve as the managing general partner.
The school and other facilities are expected to be completed within 26 months from the day of groundbreaking. The current timetable has the facilities completed in time for the fall 1999 class year.
The school will also be broken down into nine academies international studies; engineering and the environment; business; humanities; health and human services; communication and entertainment; law and government; travel and tourism; and visual and performing arts.