Gymnasium FAQs

What are the factors that led to the decision to proceed with construction of the gym and not the school at this time?

We take seriously our role as stewards of the school and congregation and took great care in coming to this decision in the best interest of our shared future.

Over the course of the last six months, it has been conveyed to us that the current and potential demands on our area power grid – where neighboring properties draw power from a shared and limited supply – have changed. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) came to the determination last month that there is not significant power at this time to support the new middle school as designed (or other comparable projects in the neighborhood) without the massive expansion of the existing power grid, the cost of which would be in the millions of dollars – complications that were not factors impeding the earlier stages of development.

Lay leadership thoroughly reviewed the options available to us in light of this LADWP determination. The only viable option, which we have adopted, was to initiate construction of the gymnasium as designed (because it requires substantively less power than the school), while simultaneously continuing our dialogue with LADWP for our additional power needs to support the school.

Why wasn’t the community notified of this decision sooner?

Our process has involved ongoing coordination with LADWP.

With the hands-on involvement of expert advisors, we underwent complex negotiations for several months to try achieving an outcome that would allow us to proceed as planned on the existing power grid. Unfortunately, LADWP’s final determination, which we received on June 21, was that they would only commit to allocating enough power at this time to build the gymnasium.

What does this change in plans mean for the construction of the school?

After robust analysis and thoughtful discussion of the issues outlined below, the Board of Trustees voted at its July 17 Special Meeting to proceed with immediate construction of the gymnasium, with demolition of the Corning properties starting around July 31. The timing of the school construction is temporarily delayed.

As we initiate construction of the gymnasium, we will simultaneously continue our dialogue with LADWP for our additional power needs.

What are the benefits of this change in plans?

Fast-track Gymnasium Completion: Thanks to the community’s generous contributions, we have the initial financial resources and the necessary approvals to begin construction of the gymnasium.

This has a projected completion date of 6-9 months from the point of demolition later this month. When it is completed, our community will be home to a 6,000 square foot facility, with multiple donor naming opportunities. The gymnasium will be a vibrant, dynamic asset complete with bleacher seating, regulation sports courts and a green roof. In addition, it is designed to function as a multi-purpose “theaternasium,” with theater lighting and the capacity to host school functions, such as plays, graduation and community events.

Extended Use of Corning Field: Construction of the gymnasium will not impact or obstruct the playing field, which is bringing great joy to our community and getting significant use as the first open green space on our campus. In fact, the size of the field will be expanded. In addition to hosting events and athletics/playtime, we are looking at adapting the field for use as outdoor classroom space while navigating the path to build our school.

Parallel Track to Initiate School Construction: As mentioned, we will continue to actively explore options with LADWP to determine how and when the additional power will be available in our neighborhood to support the school. We are committed to building the school as envisioned, as a facility designed to change education with flexible, collaborative and fun learning spaces.

This is not the first time there has been a change in the plans to construct these new facilities. How can we be sure the plans to build the school will actually move forward?

We are grateful for your support and investment in this significant undertaking to help us meet the evolving 21st Century needs of our congregation. As well, we appreciate your patience, as there have been some changes in the years since the project was initiated.

Projects of this complexity are sometimes subject to regulatory issues outside of our control, as with the recent changes affecting our neighborhood power supply. That said, our leadership team is working diligently to advance all of the elements our Campus Renovation and Expansion Project.

As mentioned, we will continue to actively explore options with LADWP to determine how and when the additional power will be available in our neighborhood to support the school. We are committed to building the school as envisioned, as a facility designed to change education with flexible, collaborative and fun learning spaces.

As members of the community, we have donated more than $25 million to a very assertive capital campaign to build the school. What happens to those funds? How much has been spent so far on a school not being built?

Thank you again for your support and investment in this significant undertaking to help us meet the evolving 21st Century needs of our congregation.

We are committed to building the school as envisioned. While the construction timing has been temporarily delayed, when it is approved to proceed, the funds will be utilized as intended.

Some donations were made in general support of the Campus Renovation and Expansion Project – and not earmarked specifically for the school. We are able to draw the initial funds needed to start construction of the gym and will be reaching out to the community to provide the financial support necessary for its completion.

To date, approx. $1 million has been spent on design and project development for the school.

Do we have the necessary funds to construct the gym? Are there naming rights to the gymnasium?

The current estimate to build the gymnasium is between $2.5 – 3 million. The Board of Directors has authorized a total budget for completion of the gym not to exceed $3.5 million.

We have the initial funds needed to start construction of the gym and will be reaching out to the community to provide the financial support necessary for its completion.

The gymnasium offers multiple naming opportunities.

What does this change mean for the teachers and faculty?

We are extremely fortunate to have an unparalleled group of dedicated teachers and faculty serving our current school programs and will continue to support their training and professional development as they prepare for our new collaborative learning environment.

In this interim period, we will also look at adapting Corning Field for use as outdoor classroom space.

What does this change mean for the families whose children plan to attend the new middle school?

We are committed to building the school as envisioned, as a facility designed to change education with flexible, collaborative and fun learning spaces.

So while creation of this new school is temporarily delayed, we will continue to serve our students and school families with excellence – thanks in large part to our unparalleled group of dedicated teachers and faculty.

What else can we do to get involved and support the Campus Renovation and Expansion Project and development of the school specifically?

We are so grateful to have you as part of our community, and we remain as committed as ever to building a campus equipped to meet the evolving 21st Century needs of our congregation.

While we have the funds to initiate construction of the gym, For those of you who have been awaiting the building of the gym, the time is ripe for your support, as we will need to raise the funds necessary for its completion.

We will keep you updated on other opportunities to get involved as we continue to advance these projects.

Advancement Staff

Hilary Hellman

Titles: Director of Advancement
Phone Numbers:
Work: 310-652-7354 ext. 205

Emily St. Lifer

Titles: Advancement Manager
Phone Numbers:
Work: 310-652-7354 ext. 225