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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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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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