“Isn’t the corner of Bowdoin and Temescal fantastic,” one reader wrote in a recent email to Circling the News. “Let’s hear it for a good design — lovely sign and benches added to the landscape.
“It’s almost a proper entrance and funnily enough, it looks as if it has always been there,” the reader continued. “I saw a bunch of students at about 2:20 p.m., safely away from the traffic on the corner, chatting, hugging and fully animated. Lovely.”
Palisadian Doug Suisman, an internationally recognized architect, designed the finished project.
He wrote to CTN on November 19: “The completion caps five years of effort, funded and implemented by Booster Club with the school’s help, to enhance the appearance and safety of the public front of the school on Bowdoin from the main quad and entrance all the way out to Temescal. At long last!
I started working on the project in 2014 when my daughter Claire (class of 2018) began at Pali and managed to finished before my son Teddy (class of 2020) graduated! My project inbox has more than 2,000 messages.”
In July 2014, Ivy League-grad Suisman spoke to this editor and explained why he wanted to restore the front of the school to its original architecture vision. After speaking to local historian Randy Young and scouring early blueprints, he became convinced that the corner at Temescal Canyon and Bowdoin should be redesigned.
“That intersection is so dangerous,” Suisman said. “Every morning 1,000 students squeeze through a bottleneck that is three-and-a-half feet between traffic and a fire hydrant, and the flashing message light is a distraction to motorists.”
The front of the school, with a change of landscaping, was completed the first year, but the corner at Temescal took much longer. The oversized digital sign came down early but digging up the pavement in a portion of an unused yard, moving the fence, adding new landscaping, moving a bus stop and installing benches and a sign was only recently completed.
The extra space gained on the redesigned corner prevents students from spilling out into the street.
The total cost for the Gateway Garden and the adjacent areas was about $100,000 (plus as much as $100,000 of in-kind contributions). The money was entirely provided by private contributions to Booster Club – no LAUSD or school funding.
Suisman wrote this week, “It took much longer to complete the Gateway Garden than we had hoped, for a variety of reasons. But it feels great to have it done. Enormous credit goes to the Booster Club and its Gateway Committee, especially co-chairs Ivy Greene and Cheryl Clark, club president Dick Held, and treasurer Dorothianne Henne, as well as my own office team, Eli Garsilazo and Sean Christensen.”
Five years ago, Suisman told me: “We want to transform the corner from a dangerous entrance and an eyesore and bring back the view obscured by benches and fences and the [digital] sign. You should be able to sit here and look all the way down Temescal and see the water.”
Mission accomplished. Congratulations to Suisman and the Gateway Committee, who raised funds to implement and beautify the corner, while increasing student safety.