TheEdward R. Roybal Learning Center is set to open in Los Angeles, but the construction project was better known under its former name, the Belmont Learning Complex. The school site sits atop an oil field and became notorious not only as an allegedly toxic site but as the nation's most expensive high school construction project—more than $400 million. The furor over Belmont drove out incumbent school board members, a superintendent and a regiment of career administrators. It also led to the rewriting of state law and local policy regarding environmental issues at school sites. To read The Los Angeles Times article, click here.
FROM JULY 2007: The Belmont Learning Complex in Los Angeles was envisioned as one of a kind. It would combine the city's first new high school in nearly 30 years with housing and retail development. When the school opens in 2008, at least nine years behind schedule, it will indeed make history — with its cost. The final tab will top $400 million, almost certainly claiming the title of the nation's most expensive high school, and there will be no retail or housing. The school, now called Vista Hermosa, was conceived in a school district that at the time lacked the expertise to build schools. The Los Angeles Unified School District has since put together the nation's largest school construction program, but the hemorrhaging continues at Belmont. Recent work expected to cost about $111 million will reach nearly $200 million instead. (Los Angeles Times)