Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Alyssa Erdley
News with Attitude 

Protest Rally to Be Held to Save Samohi's History Building on Saturday morning, June 12

The rally is to meet at 4th & Pico at Belmar Park at 10:00 am on Saturday, June 12, 2021

 

A group of parents, residents, and alumni are opposing the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board's decision to demolish the historic History building, circa 1930s, and use bond money to build an over-priced "21st century" replacement. The district is under pressure to spend the bond money they apparently needlessly foisted on the city's taxpayers, or it will look like they hadn't really needed it. Financial penalties might also ensue. Also, if it turns out they didn't need it, it would sure become difficult to ask for more in the future. So SMMUSD elected officials and staff are looking for ways to throw the money away even if that means destroying the campus's history and tearing down one of the few buildings on campus that is actually attractive. Below is the press release from the rally's organizers:

IF YOU CAN'T SHOW UP, SEND AN EMAIL TO THE SCHOOL BOARD @ [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

TELL THEM TO STOP NEEDLESSLY OVER-SPENDING OUR TAX DOLLARS AND SAVE THE HISTORY & ART BUILDINGS.

The SMMUSD School Board decided to tear down the Samohi History & Art Buildings and spend $82.5 million for a new building without ever studying adaptive reuse, which is estimated at $47.6 million. SMMUSD is rushing to tear down the Samohi History & Art Buildings on Monday before we all have a chance to stop them.

The School Board has a fiduciary duty to the voters when spending our bond money. That would make the district derelict in its duties to continue pursuing spending twice as much on an unnecessary building while leaving other facilities in disrepair.

Please join over 6,100 residents and alumni who have signed a petition, along with the Alumni Association and the Santa Monica Conservancy, asking the School Board to save the History Building.

For those who are more familiar with the details of what the School Board plans to do, attached is a set of drawings for adaptive reuse of the History and Art Buildings. These drawings are a compromise that includes space for the Art & Media Academy, as well as a library and student center-fulfilling the requirements of the Samohi Campus Plan to provide a 21st century learning environment. These drawings have been sent to the School Board who still refuse to consider saving the buildings and $34 million.

1. The Art Building would become a 2-story library.

2. Half of the History Building would be an open 2-story student center with flexible space for events on the ground floor, cafe, outdoor spaces in the courtyards between the History Art, and English Buildings, lounge areas upstairs with the benefit of the amazing second-story views, and breakout rooms for clubs and meetings.

3. The other half of the History Building can easily accommodate the Media and Art Academy, which was going to comprise the east wing of the Exploration Building. Those are many of the smaller rooms that will fit fine in the History Building and the walls would be moved to create a few larger studios, if needed.

4. The roof could accommodate both a garden and a deck for classrooms and events (with an incredible view), and still make room for plenty of solar panels.

These uses have never been considered by SMMUSD, and the public is entitled to see that all viable uses are pursued, especially since the public overwhelmingly does not want to spend twice as much money to tear down a historic resource.

It is not too late. It's time to do the right thing. Help Save the Samohi History Building.

 

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