Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools

This project is one of LAUSD’s new comprehensive K-12 campuses constructed at the site of the former Ambassador Hotel in the Mid-Wilshire District of Los Angeles. It is comprised of an elementary school, middle school and high school. The three schools sit on a 23.8-acre site and serve 4,400 students living in the surrounding nine-block radius. Many of these students were formerly bused to distant, overcrowded schools in other communities. The combined campus provides a safe place for students to learn, while allowing them to develop a stronger connection with the learning environment and deeper relationships with faculty.

Working with the Community

Vanir provided staff augmentation services on the project, including the onsite senior program manager, project engineer, office engineer, and project coordinator. In our role as senior program manger, we also led community outreach efforts, including an unprecedented number of events. We worked to set up a local youth soccer tournament, local youth service fair, and local community holiday celebration. We hosted more than 20 community meetings to review the project and answer questions, as well as hosted three “meet the contractor” breakfast sessions with project neighbors to address any of their concerns.

An Educational Approach to Preserving History

The campus is constructed at the site of the former Ambassador Hotel, which was opened in 1921 and was also the location of the 1968 assassination of presidential candidate and senator, Robert F. Kennedy. Several portions of the old hotel have been incorporated into the campus, including the hotel’s former night club, Cocoanut Grove. The club has been rehabilitated to serve as a 500-seat auditorium, with its restored Paul R. Williams Coffee Shop now functioning as the staff/teacher lounge and cafeteria. Other reminders of the hotel include the restoration of the original historic hotel entrance pylon as part of a the RFK Memorial Community Park on Wilshire Boulevard. The campus also includes several commissioned public art pieces, commemorating the Ambassador Hotel’s cultural and social history.

Location

Los Angeles, CA

Client

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)

Design Team

Gonzalez Goodale Architects

Contractor

Hensel Phelps Construction Company

Construction Cost

$410 million

Completion

2010