The Harvard-Westlake River Park will meet the highest standards for environmental protection and sustainability.
The River Park will include a state-of-the-art stormwater capture system that collects, cleans, and re-uses water run-off from the neighborhood to the north of the project site. The system will save water while helping to alleviate a significant flood problem at the intersection of Whitsett & Valley Spring.
This largest privately built system of its kind to treat public run-off in the City of Los Angeles, the system will remove solids that currently flow into the LA River and threaten downstream habitats and our ocean.
Once installed, the River Park storage tanks will hold up to 1 million gallons of treated run-off water, which will be used to irrigate landscaping, significantly reducing the amount of potable water used on site.
The River Park will be a model example of LA River landscaping, inspired by recognized guidelines and backed by environmental science. It will serve as an inspiration for all who will walk among its beautiful foliage and native plantings.
It will contain 100% native trees and plantings, virtually eliminating the need to draw potable water for landscaping. The River Park would also provide nearly 6 acres of open space and trails for the public to enjoy at all hours.
The school is committed to replacing every single tree that is removed, even the existing trees that violate the City’s guidelines because they are considered invasive species. Not only will the project result in an increase in the number of trees, but a significant number of the newly planted trees will also be mature specimens that are far larger than those required by City code. The vast majority of trees currently onsite for their location, provide little biodiversity support and few environmental benefits, and are not included in extensive City and County river landscaping guidelines.
The River Park will be partially powered by solar panels on the roof of the gymnasium that will provide 339,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, which is equivalent, which is equivalent to the electricity used by 31 Los Angeles households use every year, on average. This renewable energy will significantly reduce the amount of electricity pulled from the power grid and the amount of greenhouse gas emissions associated with the River Park.
The golf course and tennis courts currently on site provide marginal wildlife habitat and foraging opportunities. But the Harvard-Westlake River Park will increase the biodiversity of the site, benefiting the migratory birds and other wildlife who frequent the site.