If all goes well, 100 Waldorf School students in grades 1 through 8 will be moving out of their temporary classrooms in a Santa Monica church and into their new school in Pacific Palisades next month.
Executive Director Jeffrey Graham told the Palisadian-Post this week that the new campus, located on Sunset just north of Pacific Coast Highway, will open in two phases.
‘We are focusing on completing the courtyard for the grades, and have applied for a temporary certificate of occupancy for that portion, and we expect to be through that process in November,’ Graham said. ‘The kindergarten and early childhood education wing will be completed by January.’
The facilities, which sit on an acre and a half of land, were originally constructed as a motel and restaurant (the Santa Ynez Inn) in 1946, and then converted into a Transcendental Meditation Center in 1976. Many of the 24 guest rooms surrounding the courtyard have been converted into classrooms and offices, said Graham. The former kitchen has been converted into a theater for dance and music productions, to which the public will be invited.
Construction on the $3-million remodeling incorporates green technology where possible. There are cork floors throughout the building, and denim material has been used for insulation. The wood siding on the facade maintains the feeling of the former Santa Ynez Inn, and there is redwood fencing around the perimeter of the property, which is owned by the adjacent Self-Realization Fellowship (and leased to the school for 25 years). Planners also envision eco-friendly landscaping and a biodynamic garden that sustains a diversity of plant and animal life.
The school, located at a particularly busy section of Sunset between Los Liones Drive and PCH, will be operating on an interim transportation plan approved by the City of Los Angeles until a traffic signal is installed at the intersection of Los Liones and Sunset.
Those entering the school from Sunset will turn into a two-lane entrance cut out at the shopping mall (Kentucky Fried Chicken), drive in, drop off children and exit from the north exit, which is currently used by residents at the SRF.
Waldorf has been meeting with the J. Paul Getty Trust, the Department of Transportation and Castellammare homeowners on the traffic light.
‘The Getty is willing to pay a share of the cost, but we are still talking with the city about streamlining the design, to cut down on the cost,’ Graham said.
‘We want to make it safe and look right, but also to accommodate the needs.’
The Waldorf School is part of an association of Rudolf Steiner/Waldorf schools with 1,200 campuses worldwide. The educational program integrates the arts and sciences within an art-based curriculum that addresses all learning styles: logical, linguistic, spatial, kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal and intrapersonal.