Selected readings on US charter schools
Los Angeles, California – The Los Angeles Unified School District [LAUSD] may seek redevelopment proposals for four of its abandoned school campuses in the Woodland Hills area from charter schools and other organizations. Early estimates put the total of necessary renovations needed to ensure the four schools are updated and safe – including extensive environmental and asbestos remediation – around $80 million.
As the LAUSD moves closer to requesting redevelopment proposals, district officials are wary: in years past, the LAUSD has attempted to secure an outside organization or charter school group to take on the hefty challenge of raising the necessary capital to completely renovate the blighted school buildings, but to no avail. The needs of the LAUSD has changed over the years, and to best serve the community has left the district’s books riddled with abandoned properties.
Over the years, the LAUSD has been able to occasionally find a suitable tenant for one of its vacant school buildings, but as the years progressed, the upkeep of the empty buildings grew more challenging year after the year. Most of the properties require extensive environmental remediation and updates. Razing the schools is another possibility, but with it comes a significant price tag. Estimates to raze and build new are between $15 and $20 million per school.
Due to the age of some of the buildings, it will not be surprising to find lead and asbestos. Safely removing lead and abating asbestos is an extremely costly and, often, invasive procedure. The use of lead and asbestos in new construction has long since been banned, but it is very commonly found in buildings built in the 1950s and 1960s. Exposure to asbestos and lead can cause some serious medical conditions, and with asbestos, in particular, exposure can lead to mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer.
Though, the land-rich, cash-poor LAUSD may find suitable organizations to take the heavy burden of updating several of its properties. School officials are confident that at least two of the four promising school locations may find new inhabitants soon.
Source: Mesothelioma – by Kristen Griffin