Revised Site Plan

Harvard-Westlake received a variety of feedback during its extensive outreach process, and is proud that the revised site plan preserves vital community resources, boasts a number of environmental improvements, creates new public amenities, and protects the surrounding neighborhood. Specifically, the revised plan proposes:

  • Preservation of clubhouse, restaurant, and putting green in their current locations and remaining open to the public.
  • Relocation of tennis courts to the northern area of the property, immediately to the west of the clubhouse building. A public courtyard and gathering space will be built in the area between the clubhouse and the tennis courts.
  • Reduction in size of gymnasium from three courts to two, significantly shrinking the footprint of the building.
  • Earthen berms and an eight-foot sound wall will be constructed along the north side of the River Park to shield the neighborhood from noise.
  • Relocation of athletic fields
    • The west field has been moved south, toward the LA River and further away from Valley Spring Lane.
    • The east field has been moved substantially south, toward the fire station and gym and away from Valley Spring Lane.

Intended Use and Hours of Operation

Harvard-Westlake will mostly use the athletic amenities of the River Park between 1 p.m. – 8 p.m. during the school year, with peak use occurring between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The athletic facilities will support a combination of games and practices. No football games will be played at Weddington, and all outdoor competition will end before 8 p.m.

The school is mindful of neighborhood concerns about maintenance activities that generate noise. Harvard-Westlake intends to develop an agreement with immediate neighbors of the property that will restrict noise-generating maintenance activities to certain days and times.

Public Access

Yes, many features of the River Park campus will be open and available for the public to enjoy.

River Park: The more than six-acre park will be open to the general public every day of the year from sunrise to sunset. The River Park will be accessible from the Zev Yaroslavsky LA River Greenway and through the main pedestrian / visitor entrance to the River Park campus, off of Whitsett Avenue.

Tennis Facilities: Members of the community and teaching pros may utilize the tennis courts when they are not in use by Harvard-Westlake. In general, this means that the courts will be open to the public between 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. – until closing.

Athletic Fields, Pool, Gymnasium:  The athletic fields, pool, and gymnasium will be available to community groups when they are not being used by Harvard-Westlake athletes. Preference will be given to local community groups that serve youth and seniors.

Environmental Stewardship

Harvard-Westlake intends to develop one of the largest privately funded stormwater capture, clean-up, and re-use systems of its kind in the City of Los Angeles. During a storm event, the entire neighborhood north of the property up to Moorpark drains to the River Park site. It is estimated that this runoff represents 900,000 gallons of water during a 1” rain event.

Harvard-Westlake intends to install basins to capture this runoff, clean it, and use it for irrigation of the on-site landscaping as well as water features for migrating birds and general public enjoyment.

If capacity is ever reached and onsite uses have been exhausted, water would be discharged into the Los Angeles River after it is treated.

Two of the leading geotechnical firms in the City have determined that groundwater recharge is not recommended at the River Park site given the risk of liquefaction in the event of a major earthquake.

Harvard-Westlake is committed to planting two trees to replace every single tree that is removed. A significant number of these new trees will be mature specimens that are far larger than those required by city code. While trees currently onsite might be appealing to the uneducated eye, the fact is that the vast majority are inappropriate for their location, support little in the way of biodiversity, are not known for their environmental benefits, and aren’t even included in extensive City and County river landscaping guidelines. The River Park Campus, on the other hand, will be a model example of LA River landscaping, inspired by recognized guidelines, backed by environmental science, and an inspiration for all who will walk among its beautiful foliage and native plantings.

Tennis and Golf

Yes. Members of the public will continue to have access to the tennis courts a majority of the time.

Yes, Harvard-Westlake will develop community partnerships to bring tennis programs to the River Park that will be open to the public.

The River Park plan calls for preservation of the putting green and public access to it.

Athletic Fields

Synthetic. The school is looking at a variety of new “infill” solutions that could eliminate the need for typical crumb rubber infill, meaning the new playing surfaces will be safer for athletes and reduce the heat retained by the field.

Gymnasium

The gym has been designed to fall at or below the “conforming height” for the neighborhood, meaning that the structure will be significantly shorter than many of the nearby apartment / condo buildings on Whitsett and even some of the homes in the neighborhood to the north of the River Park.

The gym will make significant investments in sustainability, including using solar panels to provide power to the building and installing green rooftops. In addition, it has been designed to blend into the natural landscape, with terraces and wood and stone features that accentuate the subtlety of the design.

Swimming Pool

Yes, an accessibility plan for public use is being developed.

Lighting

Yes. Harvard-Westlake’s plan for the River Park calls for a maximum of 600 hours per year of use of outdoor lights (lights out by 8 p.m. on days when they are in use). This compares to over 2,000 hours per year of current use by the driving range where lights are on until 11 p.m. every day. The field lights will be highly-focused LED lights with shields that eliminate spillover. By contrast, the driving range fixtures do not focus light to avoid light spill into the neighborhood.

Parking and Traffic

Yes, Harvard-Westlake has commissioned a full traffic study. That study will inform the school’s plan for how students will move between the site and the main campus on Coldwater Canyon.

The school will operate shuttle busses and encourage walking and carpooling. Parking for the site will be primarily underground, with all ingress / egress signaled and off Whitsett.

Harvard-Westlake will build sufficient underground parking on-site to handle any and all anticipated visitors to the site. With community support, Harvard-Westlake pledges to sponsor efforts to secure neighborhood parking restrictions from the city, making it even more difficult for those without neighborhood parking permits to park on area streets.

Most students will use school shuttles to travel to and from the Coldwater Canyon campus and the River Park campus. Under no circumstances will shuttles be allowed to travel through residential neighborhoods.

In addition, Harvard-Westlake security guards will monitor visitor access to the River Park. Any HW student, or faculty or staff member, who is observed driving on residential streets in the neighborhood will face revocation of their privilege to use the River Park facilities.

Harvard-Westlake will perform a comprehensive traffic study as part of the Environmental Impact Report. The traffic report will make a number of recommendations to improve traffic flow on Whitsett, reduce traffic hazards, and increase pedestrian and motorist safety. Harvard-Westlake will invest in any and all measures recommended by the City and by traffic experts to make Whitsett Avenue safer, including adding crosswalks and a traffic signal at the corner of Whitsett Avenue and Valley Spring Lane.

Safety + Security

Harvard-Westlake places a high priority on the safety and security of our students, families, faculty, staff, and guests. The Harvard-Westlake River Park campus will employ many of the same security protections that are in place on our existing campuses.

Neighborhood Concerns

The Environmental Impact Report will identify prospective noise impacts and recommend mitigations as required. In addition, Harvard-Westlake intends to reduce potential noise issues with the following measures:

  • Berms: In the revised site plan, a substantial portion of the north side of the property is bordered by an earthen berm. This feature, combined with an eight-foot solid sound wall, will substantially decrease the amount of sound that travels from the River Park campus into the neighborhood to the north.
  • Landscaping: Thick, mature landscaping along the north side of the River Park campus will substantially reduce the amount of noise generated by athletic activity that might travel into the neighborhood to the north.
  • Pool Covering: In the revised site plan, a physical structure is cantilevered over the northern end of the swimming pool to capture sound generated by pool activity.
  • Relocation of East Field: In the revised site plan, the east athletic field has been moved substantially to the south so as to reduce noise impacts on the neighborhood to the north.
  • Relocation of West Field: In the revised site plan, the west athletic field has been moved slightly to the south so as to reduce noise impacts on the neighborhood to the north.

Café Southwest will remain in the remodeled clubhouse building and be open to the public during its normal business hours.

A detailed construction plan has not been developed yet, but it is estimated that construction will take up to two years to complete.