BHHS Getting Fenced In This Summer

The Board of Education approves plans to spend $250,000 to install a motorized fence around the high school campus, excluding the iconic front lawn.

Beverly Hills High School is getting fenced in after all.

Months after a debate erupted about installing an, the Board of Education unanimously agreed last week to spend about $250,000 to install a motorized chain-link fence around the perimeter of the campus. Unlike the original proposal, however, the BHHS’ iconic front lawn—where graduation is usually held—will not be inside the fence.

Construction of the fence is to begin as soon as possible, with a goal of having it completed when students return to school in the fall. The fence’s gates will limit access to the gym and the tennis courts, and parts of the fence will be mechanized to open only for cars with access to the campus.

The new fence proposal comes after months of input from a BHHS led by Principal Carter Paysinger and school security. The task force was formed after a major security breach in December when a 26-year-old male adult walked into a morning classroom and sat among students.

Input from various components of the task force, including the Beverly Hills police and fire departments, “resulted in a substantial cost increase to this project,” Nelson Cayabyab, chief facilities manager for the Beverly Hills Unified School District, said at a special board meeting Thursday evening.

Cost estimates from the hired architects and construction management firms ranged from about $208,000 to $274,000, so Cayabyab estimated the final cost to be around $250,000. That is more than double the fence budget of $121,000 that the board previously approved.

Board member Jake Manaster expressed concern about spending the funds because much of the fence would have to be taken down when BHHS receives major reconstruction that is planned with Measure E money. Those renovations are scheduled to start in four to five years.

“If you divide the amount by four that is $50,000 or $60,000 a year for security,” he said, noting that made it easier for him to accept. 

Under questioning from board Vice President Brian Goldberg, Cayabyab estimated that the BHUSD will be able to recoup about 40 percent of the fence’s costs when BHHS goes through Measure E renovations. Those costs are associated with the mechanized assembly for the automated sections of the fence.

The idea of a fence around the campus was a tough sell to school parents, many of whom attended BHHS and remember it as an open campus.

The new fence is designed to address security concerns while still giving the community access to the popular front lawn, board members said.

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treva brandon June 14, 2011 at 11:14 PM
what's next? bars on the windows? i never thought i'd see the day when Beverly High is fenced in. it depresses me just thinking about it!
Mathew Simon June 15, 2011 at 04:40 AM
Wait- Again?? The school board really needs to understand their priorities and act accordingly. I can't help but wonder why they complain about their budget, complain about security, and choose the most expensive, most inefficient, and most importantly *MOST INEFFECTIVE* form of security possible. I once again stress my argument that they should invest half the money proposed for the fence, fix their cameras, and take just one of the (no offense) wasted men on golfcarts and put them on a rotation system to see what the hell actually goes on in that place. They fire nearly all first and second year teachers, and then spend what would pay for 4 full salaries to pay contractors to design and build a completely and utterly useless "security" measure!
Bonnie Cacavas June 15, 2011 at 05:27 PM
I believe this is total over reacting and not reacting in a sensible manner. Teach the teachers to be aware of what is going on in the classroom. Have the security people do their job. Teach the children to be alert, to be observant, to learn self defense and not to hide behind fences--not to mention the cost at a time when we don't have it--and then it will be torn down and have to be be rebuilt. What are they thinking of!! How can we stop this??
Joel Epstein June 15, 2011 at 05:51 PM
Doesn't it gall the voters of Beverly Hills that the School Board has found yet another way to waste taxpayer money that should be going to educating students? And I thought the Board's misguided effort to halt a Century City subway station at Constellation & Avenue of the Stars where it belongs was the height of arrogance on the part of the self-anointed "nattering nabobs of negativism."
Brian David Goldberg, PhD June 15, 2011 at 08:03 PM
I understand you frustration, that is why we are making these security measures as far away from the iconic graduation lawn as possible. Based on the designs I have seen you will not see most of the changes that are taking place but it will allow us to better control access to the school. We live in different times now.
Brian David Goldberg, PhD June 15, 2011 at 08:09 PM
Well, where to begin, first we are using funds set aside for this purpose. The budget is complicated with many different moving parts, but nearly 4.3% of our budget is used for deferrred maintenance each year. You may have missed our last few meetings but we have restored almost every position that was laid off, including all the positions from the ONE Campaign and now all K-5 teachers. We also added an additional security gurad this year and if the plans our implmented as outlined we will add one more so we can have security personnel at each controlled entrace and have two individuals patrolling the "inside" of the campus. The bulk of the funds are being spend on the doors to make them exit only and alarmed. I hope this helps clarify what is actually happening and you can help spreaad the word.
Brian David Goldberg, PhD June 15, 2011 at 08:09 PM
All good suggestions but controlling access to the campus is also part of the security plan.
Brian David Goldberg, PhD June 15, 2011 at 08:12 PM
Once again, Mr. Epstein steps into an issue with his opinion rather than facts. For the facts on the subway to the sea visit www.centurycitysubway.com It is never a waste of money or time to do the right thing. Protecting our students and our ability to develop our High School property is in the best interst of our community. Protecting the tax payers of Los Angeles County from run away development and overspending on the Constellation route when it will cost more and ridership will be less is something the Board of Education can be proud of.
Simon June 15, 2011 at 10:59 PM
Why would the BHUSD get involved in development issues in Los Angeles, or be concerned with how much a subway station--in another city--costs? Not adding up.
Brian David Goldberg, PhD June 15, 2011 at 11:04 PM
Well, quite simply by going under our High School our engineers estimate that it will cost us an additional 30%, right now we have plans to spend about 150 million of the 334 million dollar bond at the High School. 30% of 150 million is about 50 million dollars, that will dramatically limit what we can accomplish with our bond. So add that to the the 60+ million in additional costs and the tax payers and students are the ones who lose. Hope that helps explain
Simon June 15, 2011 at 11:21 PM
Right, so you believe (it remains to be proven) that a subway going under BH High will complicate things for your expansion. Fine. But arguments about "runaway development," "a more expensive station," or "student safety" are canards. Let's be honest.
Brian David Goldberg, PhD June 16, 2011 at 12:54 AM
Well as a voter in Los Angeles County as as supporter of Measure R I am concerned about waste especially when an alternate route exists down Santa Monica Blvd. I remember when the methane gas explosion occurred and Congressman Waxman shot down the subway project we know that we have dozens of abandoned wells under the High School and methane gas pockets. Those are real and legitimate concerns for me as well.
Brian David Goldberg, PhD June 16, 2011 at 04:45 PM
Kerri, great suggestions and we are looking into that and I will forward your suggestion to the team studying this. I want to reassure you that both Beverly Hills Fire Department and Beverly Hills Police Department have signed off on our plans. We will comply with all fire safety issues and have taken those very real concerns into account.
Simon June 16, 2011 at 08:38 PM
Mr. Goldberg, With all due respect--you think you know more about engineering and seismic safety than the professionals that Metro has looking into the issue? Why would they OK a route that is inherently dangerous--that does not make sense for anyone, especially them. Why not wait until they finish their studies (the FEIR) until you decide which route is safe and which route is not. Last I heard, Santa Monica Blvd. had a fault running under it, but I'm waiting to hear what the engineers say about it.
Althea Tagg June 18, 2011 at 12:10 AM
Thank you Dr. Goldberg. I've read quite enough of the petulant insults and name-calling from the subway proponents who clearly have no association with or respect for our community. I am absolutely perplexed at the religious zeal with which the proponents advocate for the location of this one subway stop, which was only recently proposed as an alternate to the original route which we fully support.
John Mirisch June 20, 2011 at 02:21 AM
Arguments about the LPA, respect for local control, distaste for bait-and-switch tactics, wasteful spending, double standards, etc. are not mutually exclusive from the District's concern that a tunnel under the high school would limit the ability of the District to meet future needs -- basically forever. It just all adds up to the Santa Monica alignment being the correct one and absent political considerations there would be no discussion on the subject, just as there (unfortunately) is no discussion about the UCLA/Westwood station being located almost a mile away from the UCLA campus.
John Mirisch June 20, 2011 at 02:31 AM
While Dr. Goldberg's PhD may not be in engineering, I know he's smart enough to listen to Tim Buresh, who has made strong presentations as to why the Santa Monica route makes the most sense. Buresh, who was hired by the District, was recently appointed as the Southern California head of the high speed rail authority. Both routes may be "safe" with appropriate construction measures, but one route does not limit the high school's future growth. What's more, it seems clear that the political decision has already been made: the politicians want Constellation. The Metro staff is not dumb and while I hope I'm wrong, I'm guessing they will try to find every angle to justify the pre-ordained conclusion of Constellation. You can read an analysis of how this process has already started with a recent press conference in Century City in my recent Huffington Post piece: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-mirisch/westside-subway-press-conference_b_877387.html. Of course, the pro-Constellation advocates were so quick to decry BH residents with safety concerns as "alarmists," and now the Santa Monica fault -- with a recurrence rate of once every 7000 years or so -- is being used by the pro-Constellation crowd to suggest a disaster of unmitigated proportions if the original Santa Monica route is actually built. How very ironic.
red patchd June 20, 2011 at 04:47 PM
Regarding the fence, some years ago the City of Hawthorne put a fence around the entire Hawthorne High School campus on El Segundo Blvd. east of the 405. It has now been removed. Has someone checked with them to learn from their experience in doing this?


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