By Alex Gura and Eli Haims
Students will not be allowed to walk off campus this year while construction on Coldwater Canyon Avenue is going on, said an email sent to students by Assistant to the Head of Upper School Michelle Bracken.
At the Senior/Faculty Barbeque last Thursday, Head of Upper School Harry Salamandra said that he hoped construction would finish around 3:30 p.m., allowing students to walk off campus after school.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is currently installing new water pipes under Coldwater Canyon Avenue adjacent to Harvard-Westlake, requiring two of the four lanes to be blocked off. Heavy traffic delays are expected.
“This is all part of the 10-year capital improvement program that is for replacing aging water infrastructure,” Department of Water and Power’s construction engineering supervisor Todd P. Le told the Sherman Oaks Patch in April. “We are trying to make this as least disruptive as possible.”
The procedures for student parking and parent drop off and pick up have changed.
Salamandra outlined the plans in an email sent to students.
Seniors will enter through the main campus entrance, make the first right once on campus and loop around Hamilton Gymnasium before proceeding to their assigned spots.
Juniors will turn on to Hacienda Drive, which is south of the main entrance, and proceed to their assigned spots.
Parents traveling southbound from Ventura Boulevard will enter the main campus entrance and make the first right once they have entered the campus.
They will then loop around Hamilton Gymnasium and drop off or pick up their children on the sidewalk along the senior lot.
Parents traveling northbound from Mulholland Drive can either follow the same path as the southbound parents or drop off and pick up their children at the north entrance. Security and staff will help direct traffic.
Students will no longer be able to park on Coldwater Canyon or Halkirk Street as they have done in previous year.
The only options for students who were planning to do this are carpooling with another student or being driven by a parent or riding a school bus, Salamandra said.
Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts sent a similar letter to parents, saying “our temporary inconvenience will be rewarded with significant campus improvements including a new academic program, new classrooms, a beautiful library, a spectacular aquatics facility and a 21st-century water pipe under Coldwater Canyon.”
An exception to the rule prohibiting students from walking off campus will be made for students who rely on public transportation to get to school. Passes will be given out to students who take public transportation regularly and the students will have a conversation with their deans about the construction workers’ schedule and when it will be safe to walk down the street.
Upper School Dean Jon Wimbish speculates that the passes won’t be handed out often, as there are only a handful of people who take the public bus regularly.
“In my three [dean] groups last year, I only had one student [who relied on public buses],” Wimbish said. “If that’s the average, there’s probably less than 10 [students] total.”
Deans hope the passes will be a last resort. The most common stop is Coldwater Canyon Boulevard and Ventura Boulevard, which is just down the street from campus, but even the short walk is “pretty brutal,” according to Wimbish.
“Even a person with a pass needs to be smart about walking,” Wimbish said. “There are going to be times when you just can’t [walk] because it’ll be too risky.”
However, Bookstore Associate Allie Costa had no trouble walking from her bus stop to the campus during the summer. She said that construction workers direct foot traffic around the work site and stop it when necessary.
“My plan is to keep on walking,” Costa said. “I don’t know how else to get here.”