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Daily Breeze: Where will they park?

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  • Brent
    Today is Wednesday, May 30, 2007 Originally published Monday, May 28, 2007 Updated Monday, May 28, 2007 Where will they park? As Lawndale High School s
    Message 1 of 1 , May 30, 2007
      Today is Wednesday, May 30, 2007
      Originally published Monday, May 28, 2007
      Updated Monday, May 28, 2007
      Where will they park?
      As Lawndale High School's performing arts center nears completion,
      city officials want answers on event parking.
      By Shelly Leachman
      Staff Writer

      The performing arts center at Lawndale High School is packed full of
      drama, though none of it is happening on stage.

      The long-overdue opening of the theater is nearing, school officials
      say, but there appears to be no end in sight to the controversy
      surrounding the massive, modern complex.

      In addition to well-documented cost overruns, cross lawsuits are
      ongoing between Centinela Valley Union High School District and
      builders F.H. Paschen. The pair also are in litigation over a
      cafeteria project at Hawthorne High dubbed the "Taj Mahal" of school

      Now concerns are emerging from communities surrounding the center, by
      way of a joint letter to the school district board from the mayors of
      Lawndale and Hawthorne (and obtained last week by the Daily Breeze).
      It points to "the need for adequate parking and the resultant traffic
      congestion that will occur with any event" as pressing issues for the

      Failing to address such issues could "cause distress to the general
      public" and "negatively impact the prospects for the success of the
      facility, should patrons have a difficult time finding access to and
      from an event," wrote Mayors Harold Hofmann of Lawndale and Larry
      Guidi of Hawthorne.

      The 50,000-square-foot arts building sits near the busy corner of
      Inglewood and Marine avenues. The six-story, 1,200-seat center does
      not so far include its own parking structure or lot. There are some
      400 existing spaces spread across the Lawndale High site, also home to
      the district office, adult and continuation schools.

      The mayors and city managers of Lawndale and Hawthorne did not return
      calls seeking further comment and explanation.

      In their letter the cities also accuse the school district of failing
      to comply with related state environmental review requirements and ask
      that a parking and traffic study be undertaken "to identify ways to
      mitigate the impacts that are sure to occur once events are held at
      the performing arts center."

      School district Superintendent Cheryl White acknowledged that no such
      study was ever performed and said that it "should have been done
      before the performing arts center was begun."

      No plans currently exist to initiate a traffic analysis now, White
      said, "but that doesn't mean we're not going to be cognizant of their
      concerns and try to do the right thing for the community."

      "Remember there wasn't one board member now who was involved back
      then, nor was I involved. We're just sitting here trying to fix things
      for our students," White said.

      "We're gonna figure out what we can do. … We're not planning on
      causing an uproar in the community."

      The district's current focus, according to White, is finishing the
      hulking arts center, which she said will be ready for students come
      fall. And while the ultimate goal is to rent out the theater for
      community and traveling shows - when parking and traffic indeed may
      cause problems - the reality is a long way off, White said.

      "At this point we're not ready to have the `Phantom of the Opera'
      performing there," she said. "We're not at the point where parking
      will be an issue."
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