New Building At Crossroads School Gains Planning Commission Support

Friday, 3 May 2013, 9:22:00 AM

Parimal M. Rohit

A rendering of the proposed science learning center at Crossroads School for Arts
Courtesy Of The City Of Santa Monica
A rendering of the proposed science learning center at Crossroads School for Arts

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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