Canyon School Upgrade/Classroom Replacement Underway

This is a rendering of what Canyon School will look like once construction is completed. The historic one room yellow schoolhouse will be put at the back of the property. The newly constructed two-story classroom building will be along Amalfi Drive.

The Canyon Elementary School, built in 1894, is one of the oldest elementary schools in Los Angeles. The original and historic one-room schoolhouse, which is still on campus, serves as a library.

Now that campus will undergo construction, which will include a two-story building constructed along Amalfi. The lower three classrooms will be for kindergarten and will include a separate playground. Next to it will be a one-story science building.

Initially the project was approved by the Los Angeles Unified Board of Education in 2017. The Bureau of Engineering approved construction funding in 2021, which is estimated at $57.5 million. Construction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2026.

The project was initially set to begin in 2020-21 but was pushed back because of Covid.

At a December Zoom meeting with residents and school members, Lorrie Munoz, with community relations opened the meeting. (213) 393-2317 or

Timothy Spaeth, senior project development manager and Jim Favaro, principal architect, gave a construction update. Seven classrooms in portable buildings will be removed and replaced with a new building.

PHASE 1: involves moving a sewer line and installing it on Amalfi Drive. That is currently underway. Students will be moved from existing classrooms into interim housing. (This is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2024).

CTN asked why the sewer line needed to be moved. Jose De Paz, community relations for LAUSD Facilities Service Division said, “The sewer re-route is a necessary part of this project. The sewer easement is currently passing through the site and LAUSD needed the re-route the line to remove the easement and be able to build on the property.”

PHASE 2: Construct a new classroom building, which will have nine classrooms (three for kindergarten and six for other grades). The historic schoolhouse on campus will be relocated to a new concrete foundation. (This will take place from the third quarter of 2024 to the first quarter of 2026.)

(A new building was required because portable buildings were brought onto LAUSD campuses in the 1990s and 2000s to ease overcrowding but are no longer approved for classrooms. In November 2017, LAUSD approved, per state requirements, that all relocatable classrooms purchased from DOH [Department of Housing] needed to be replaced. That means that seven current classrooms at Canyon Elementary are no longer sufficient. The two kindergarten classrooms, which are in a permanent building will be moved, and that space will become a parking lot.)

PHASE 3: prepare for a new parking lot. (From fourth quarter 2025 to first quarter 2026.)

PHASE 4: Build a new parking lot. The current kindergarten building on Channel Road will be demolished. (Started first quarter 2026 and finished the third quarter of that year.)

PHASE 5: Build a schoolyard and playground. (Started in the third quarter 2026 and finished in the fourth quarter of the same year).

CTN asked De Paz if the project required an environmental review and Coastal Commission approval.

“Yes, CEQA and Coastal Commissioning reviews are completed, and approvals are granted,” De Paz said. “We received a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) Exclusion from the City of LA for the portion of the site located in the single jurisdiction zone and a CDP Waiver from the CA Coastal Commission for the portion of the site located in the dual jurisdiction zone.”

This is the proposed play yard and the two-story classroom building will be next to a street.

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One Response to Canyon School Upgrade/Classroom Replacement Underway

  1. Hi Sue – great issue, as always. I think you readers will appreciate the website, “We Save Lives.” It was created by my friend, Candy Lightner, the founder of Mother’s Against Drunk Driving and a former Palisadian. Many years ago she lost one of her twin daughters because of the actions of a repeat offending drunk driver. Candy has since moved on to “We Save Lives” because it covers the three Ds – drunk, drugged & distracted driving- districted by phone, text, etc. There is lots of information on the site to be given to teen drivers. There is also a powerful video. Hope you share it! xxx Pepper

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