Los Angeles has now officially opened its $350 million downtown high school the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center. It is only a decade over due and more than the operating budgets of some small nations. It appears that economics and good government will be elective courses at Roybal.
The cost overruns are due to a serious of moronic decisions by school officials from siting issues to environmental issues. The plan includes a $17 million toxic gas mitigation system that will cost $250,000 a year to operate. It is needed because officials located the school on an old oil field with toxic pollutants. Vents around the school will allow underground methane and hydrogen sulfide gases escape. When sensors detect gas buildup, a blower will push out the gases. They later found an active earthquake fault under the site.
An investigation by the county district attorney’s office, the city attorney and the California attorney general found no criminal wrongdoing, just incredibly poor management — though most responsible officials escaped any real disciplinary action. In 2003 District Attorney Steve Cooley called the project “a public works disaster of biblical proportions.”
The school will hold 2,400 students.
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