Los Angeles City College
855 North Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90029

888.930.LACC  |  www.lacitycollege.edu
News Release
May 26, 2009


Facts About the LACCD Van de Kamp Innovation Center in Northeast Los Angeles

  Plans to establish a satellite community college campus offering general education, transfer and occupational training programs on the site of the old Van de Kamp bakery in Glassell Park have, temporarily, been scaled back. The decision stems from severe, and worsening, budget pressures. The Los Angeles Community College District remains committed to opening the satellite campus, and will consider how to move ahead with its plans within five years. In the meantime, the community will be able to use the new facilities and will benefit from new programs at the location that will maintain an educational focus. A nonprofit group will provide job training, and both non-credit and credit community college courses are likely to be offered. In addition, a charter high school is set to open in the fall. These activities will provide revenue for the District to maintain the buildings, and to keep them open and secure until a satellite campus is established.

Why is the original satellite campus plan being changed?: It’s a matter of money. Given the severe strains on the state budget, support for community college instruction is being curtailed. With the defeat of five state budget measures in the May 19 special election, further sweeping cutbacks will be in store. That will cost the LACCD about $80 million, or more than one-tenth of its general fund budget. What’s more, Los Angeles City College, which planned to operate the satellite campus, already was burdened with a budget shortfall of $1.2 million even before the special election. As a result of the budget problems, classes will be cut for thousands of students at the District’s colleges.

Why can’t some of the more than $60 million being spent on redeveloping the site be used to run a satellite community college campus?: The funds to build and operate campuses come from separate sources. The capital budget for construction and redevelopment reflects bond money approved by voters in the District. That money can’t legally be used to operate the campus. The operating funds largely come from the state, which currently is going through enormous financial strain.

What physical improvements are being made at the site?: Currently under  construction is the two-story New Education Building, which is expected to be ready in time for the opening of a charter high school at the end of August. (The school initially will be housed on the first floor.) The redevelopment of the LACCD Van de Kamp Innovation Center should be completed over the coming year. Among other things, it will have a wellness center with exercise equipment in the basement that will be available for community use. Work also is under way on a parking area that will include an array of solar panels to produce carbon-free electricity.  The site, in addition, will have a central plant building to provide heating and air conditioning efficiently. Also, to improve local traffic, San Fernando Road will be widened, and a right-turn lane will be added for motorists getting on the Glendale Freeway.

What will be distinctive about the project?: The “adaptive reuse” of the Van de Kamp building already is winning praise, and all of the construction is meeting high environmental standards. In fact, all of the structures are expected to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, the widely recognized designation for sustainability established by the U.S. Green Building Council. The project already has the distinction of having met European standards for sustainability. Plans also call for the site to be encircled by a fence designed to evoke the area’s heritage as a center of the bakery industry. Design proposals will be solicited from local artists.

What services will be provided at the site?:  In partnership with the City of Los Angeles, a Workforce Innovation Center will be established. Its purpose will be to train students for green-collar and health-care occupations. The center will be managed by a nonprofit organization, Community Career Development, which has over 25 years of experience in workforce development. Other organizations also will operate at the site to provide career counseling and job-placement support. In addition, the Los Angeles City College Economic and Workforce Development office will offer non-credit courses in basic skills and English as a Second Language. The District also is exploring ways to provide basic academic skills classes and general education credit courses that students could use when they transfer to four-year colleges.

What high school is coming to the site?: A nonprofit charter school organization that had been looking for a temporary location, the Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools, is preparing to  launch the Environmental Science and Technology High School. The organization’s schools in Los Angeles, in the words of the Los Angeles Times, are “consistently posting test scores and attendance rates that far outpace surrounding district schools.”  Alliance is focusing its recruiting efforts within a three-mile radius of the LACCD Van de Kamp Innovation Center site. The school will start with a class of 100 or more 9th graders on Aug. 31, and then will add a grade every year until it becomes a 9th-through-12th high school in fall, 2012, with about 450 students. After five years, however, the LACCD will be free to take over the full site again, and the charter school will have established a permanent location elsewhere.

Who will provide security?:  The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will be on duty during operating hours. When the facilities are closed, electronic security systems will be used to protect the site.

What’s the outlook for the future?: LACCD officials remain committed to establishing a satellite community college campus at the Van de Kamp site. Plans for the long-term future will be developed during the next five years and, if the Los Angeles City College then has sufficient operating funds, the intention is to  place the satellite campus under the college's administration.

Graphic:  Project Spending Charts


   updated 7/16/09

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