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Los Angeles Unified Approves Infrastructure Upgrades and Sustainable Green Outdoor Learning Spaces (03-27-23)


March 27, 2023

Los Angeles Unified Approves Infrastructure Upgrades and Sustainable Green Outdoor Learning Spaces 


Los Angeles, CA (March 27, 2023) –The Los Angeles Unified Board of Education today approved more than $92.3 million bond dollars to upgrade and maintain modernized facilities and to provide safe and sustainable green spaces for outdoor learning. Improving and maintaining state-of-the-art facilities further advances the Los Angeles Unified’s 2022-26 Strategic Plan. 


Accessibility upgrades valued at $49.6 million were approved at Hubert Howe Bancroft Middle School, Broad Avenue Elementary School, Daniel Webster Middle School, 95th Street Elementary School and Pinewood Avenue Elementary School. Projects will provide students with equal opportunity access to programs and activities on these campuses by incorporating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) improvements necessary to meet accessibility requirements and ensure a barrier-free learning environment. The approved projects support the implementation of the Los Angeles Unified ADA Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan.  


“We must continue to create and expand experiences and access to state-of-the-art facilities for our school communities,” Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said. “Our learning environments complement our students’ talent, and with these upgrades we will close equity gaps in order to prepare students to be ready for the world. These investments are a positive step forward for Los Angeles Unified.”


The Board also approved $33 million to continue efforts to reduce and maintain the level of lead in all school drinking water to below 5 parts per billion – one of the strictest requirements in the nation for a school district. The funding permits Los Angeles Unified to complete the remediation of drinking water fountains and install water bottle filling stations at all special education centers and elementary schools. As part of the current phase of the Drinking Water Quality Program, the District has completed a comprehensive re-sampling of drinking water fountains at all K-12 schools, and to date has completed remediation work at 183 sites serving the youngest students and most sensitive receptors, including all early education centers. 


Four outdoor learning environment projects, with a combined value of $9.3 million, were approved at 95th Street Elementary School, Charles W. Barrett Elementary School, Langdon Avenue Elementary School and Victory Boulevard Elementary School. Projects are identified using the Los Angeles Unified Greening Index which ranks campuses with the greatest need for enhanced greening and school data to determine campuses with excess portable classrooms. Each project will provide an approximately 2,000 square foot outdoor learning space with landscaping, shaded seating areas, shade structure, internet connectivity and ADA accessibility improvements.  


Also approved were four Sustainable Environment Enhancement Developments for Schools (SEEDS) projects, with a combined budget of $400,000 at Lucille Roybal-Allard Elementary School, San Gabriel Avenue Elementary School, Simon Rodia Continuation High School and Stanford Avenue Primary Center. Under the SEEDS program, a school site by itself, or in cooperation with a partner organization, may submit a SEEDS application to receive up to $100,000 to create or improve an outdoor learning space that supports the school curriculum. An additional $50,000 is now available to schools ranked in the top 20% of the Greening Index.  


In addition, the Board authorized the implementation of $26.4 million in grant awards from the California Schools Healthy Air, Plumbing and Efficiency (CalSHAPE) Ventilation Program to complement the District’s ongoing efforts to perform important infrastructure upgrades that impact air quality at our schools. Grant monies will cover costs for HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system assessment, general maintenance and adjustment, filter replacement and carbon dioxide monitor installation and other improvements to HVAC systems at 163 schools.


“Nature is a powerful tool in student learning, and today we took an important step in both increasing access to green spaces in our schools and protecting our students from the future impacts of climate change,” Board President Jackie Goldberg said. “Plus, we can contribute to a climate-resilient future by cooling down our campuses by removing asphalt and planting trees.”


“We are privileged to live in an area that allows outdoor learning throughout the year,” Board Vice President Scott M. Schmerelson said. “Investing over $90 million bond dollars to upgrade our outdoor learning spaces is key to preparing our students to learn about how we build a more sustainable world for future generations.”


“I applaud the investment in transforming outdoor learning environments for our students,” Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III said. “Board District 1 is home to some of the earliest campuses in our District, many with the least amount of green space and also with the fewest number of parks nearby. These improvements will raise the quality of life for our students in immeasurable ways.”


“I am thrilled to see this solid investment in our students and schools,” Board Member Dr. Rocío Rivas said. “Every child deserves a healthy, sustaining school environment that nurtures learning. As chair of the Greening and Climate Resilience Committee, I’m passionate about continuing the work begun by our Board President Jackie Goldberg, to bring environmental leaders to the table with the District, ensuring best practices as we implement this spending.”


“Every student should have access to the academic learning, joy, and wellness that green space and outdoor learning opportunities provide, and we will continue to prioritize urgent and ambitious investments that create these beneficial environments for our kids and school communities,” Board Member Nick Melvoin said.


“All our students, particularly those in our most underserved communities, deserve to learn and play on green, vibrant campuses,” Board Member Kelly Gonez said. “With the passage of my greening resolution in September 2022, I hope to see the District bring many more of these projects on an accelerated timeline, specifically prioritizing schools with the least existing green on campus.”


“I am proud to support an investment that creates more access to outdoor learning environments and green spaces in our schools,” Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin said. “Greener spaces help promote our students’ learning, social-emotional health and physical well-being while also sparking their creativity and curiosity.”