Quite a unique event took place inside council chambers
at Santa Monica City Hall on May Day: the governing body considered a development agreement (DA) that was not
a multi-use development featuring apartment units and ground floor shops.
Instead, the Planning Commission spent two hours at its
May 1 meeting deliberating a DA for a new building on the campus of Crossroads
School for Arts & Sciences.
Commissioners voted unanimously to recommend a science
learning center at Crossroads. According to City staff, the proposed project
would be three stories high and feature 12 classrooms inside. The new building
would be located at 1731 20th Street in the Light Manufacturing Studio
During construction of the project, three temporary
modular classrooms will be erected.
“The site currently contains two buildings with five
total classrooms that would be removed as part of the project resulting in
seven new classrooms,” City staff stated.
Planning commissioners were posed with three questions by
City staff: is the proposed design “appropriate and compatible with the
neighborhood and the subject site;” are the proposed community benefits
“consistent with the objective, goals, general land uses, and programs
specified in the general plan;” and, should the DA be recommended for approval
to the City Council.
The third question was affirmatively answered just after
9:30 pm on Wednesday evening.
Next week’s issue of The
Mirror will delve deeper into the commissioners’ discussion.
Meanwhile, a sneak peek into the project reveals the
applicant proposed to provide 235 parking spaces, one shy of the 236 spaces
required under the City Code.
There were only two community benefits negotiated as part
of the new science center at Crossroads: an enhanced Transportation Demand
Management (TDM) plan; and, the school must “provide an undeveloped area 10
feet in width along the southern property line … for the future development and
public use of the Michigan Avenue Greenway bike path.”
As for the building itself, City staff stated it is
proposed to be three stories and 41 feet high and contain about 23,856 square
feet of classroom and support space.
“The first floor will contain five classrooms and a prep
room. The second floor will contain three classrooms, a fume hood room, a prep
room, and restrooms. The third floor will contain four classrooms and a prep
room, and the roof level will contain mechanical equipment and a small
accessible, green roof,” City staff stated.
“The rooms will serve as active and passive classroom and
lab spaces for a variety of scientific disciplines,” City staff added.
Also proposed as part of the project, according to City
staff: a two-story special projects pavilion to “house interdisciplinary
special project rooms on the ground and second floors and an outdoor gathering
space open to the sky on the third level.”
Crossroads had originally proposed, according to City
staff, the building design to be an industrial-style building “that utilized an
extensive system of glass curtain walls throughout its prominent street
“This curtain wall system created a one-dimensional
design that lacked architectural details, design elements, and visibility into
the building,” City staff stated.
Crossroads then submitted a revised design “that
incorporated additional materials and architectural elements including
expansive corrugated metal panels, horizontal and vertical window bands,
projecting photovoltaic panel walls on the south elevation, and concrete
City staff stated in its report to planning commissioners
they plan to continue working with Crossroads on evolving the design plans.
Check back with The
Mirror next week for the Planning Commission’s perspectives and
recommendations on the Crossroads DA.
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