Intended Use and Hours of Operation

Harvard-Westlake will generally use the athletic facilities of the River Park between 1 p.m. – 8 p.m. during the school year, with most 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 on site, and all outdoor competition will end before 8 p.m.

Public Access

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

River Park: The 6-acre park will be open to the general public every day of the year from 7 am until closing. 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 may utilize the tennis courts when they are not in use by Harvard-Westlake. In general, this means between 7 a.m. – 3 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.

Environmental Stewardship

Harvard-Westlake’s plans include a state of the art drainage system that absorbs, cleans and re-uses on site stormwater run-off. Once installed, it is anticipated that the River Park Campus storage tanks will hold hundreds of thousands of gallons of water that would otherwise be diverted into the storm drain system and be completely wasted.

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

Harvard-Westlake is committed to replacing every single tree that is removed. The project will result in an increase in the number of trees on site, with a significant number of the newly planted trees being mature specimens that are far larger than those required by City code.

The annual rate of carbon sequestration achieved by River Park’s extensive landscaping is projected to surpass existing conditions at the project site in year 2. And within 10 years of opening, the River Park’s new trees and landscaping will capture, remove, and store far more carbon dioxide than what the existing non-native trees and fan palms on the property can.

The canopy cover provided by the new trees at River Park will exceed that provided by existing trees and Mexican fan palms on the site by year 6-7 of the project’s life. And when the trees are fully mature, which is projected to be year 25 of the project’s life, the canopy cover will extend across more than half of the property, which is 2.5 times greater coverage than the existing condition.

Tennis and Golf

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

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

Athletic Fields

State-of-the-art synthetic turf will be used on both soccer fields. Synthetic turf provides a safe and consistent playing surface, and compared to natural turf, is more durable, requires less water use and no chemical fertilizers, and can be put to immediate, enjoyable use after rainy weather.

Synthetic turf is used at 37 City of Los Angeles parks, including Whitsett Sports Fields in North Hollywood and Delano Recreation Center in Van Nuys.

Laboratory testing of the artificial turf intended for installation at River Park found that chemicals that could pose a health risk (known as PFAS) could not be detected in the material, even using the finely-calibrated equipment of a nationally-recognized lab. Employing the most rigorous form of testing and the highest level of sensitivity, the tests came up negative for presence of the types of PFAS that have been identified as posing health risks.


At 30 feet tall, 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 some of the homes in the neighborhood to the north of the River Park.

Yes, 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 complement its location next to the River.

Swimming Pool

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


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 light spillover. By contrast, the driving range fixtures do not focus light to avoid light spill into the neighborhood.

Parking and Traffic

All parking will be located at or below grade. The plan calls for 386 subterranean spaces and 17 surface parking spaces so as to accommodate all parking needs on campus.

The school will operate shuttle busses and encourage carpooling. Parking for the site will be primarily underground, with all ingress / egress 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. Shuttles will follow a prescribed driving route, travelling northbound on Coldwater Canyon Avenue, turning right at Moorpark, and turning right onto Whitsett. Under no circumstances will shuttles be allowed to travel through residential neighborhoods.

Visitors will be instructed that they may also access the River Park campus from Ventura Blvd, turning onto Whitsett, and turning left into the underground parking lot.

Harvard-Westlake security guards will closely 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.

Safety + Security

Harvard-Westlake places a high priority on the safety and security of our students, families, faculty, staff, guests, and the surrounding neighborhood. 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.
  • Bleacher Covering: Field B bleachers will have an overhead covering and along the sides to minimize noise.

Café Southwest will close during construction and will reopen in the remodeled clubhouse with a new kitchen and expanded seating area.

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