School prepares environmental impact report for river park property

Tessa Augsberger

The school is currently preparing an Environmental Impact Report for its proposed River Park athletic and recreational facility after applying to the City of Los Angeles for a Conditional Use Permit last March. The River Park project sits atop the 16-acre Weddington Golf & Tennis, which the school purchased in 2017.

Head of Communications and Strategic Initiatives Ari Engelberg ’89 said the administration hopes to gain support for the project from members of the school community in time for the public hearings process, which is set to begin once the school files the Environmental Impact Report. The process will culminate in a City Planning Commission hearing.

“We are interested in generating as much enthusiasm about the project as possible,” Engelberg said in an email. “Later on this year, we expect to have a series of public hearings about the project as part of the City’s approval process, and it will be important for the [school] community to turn out in strong support of the project.”

Throughout the entirety of the approval process, the school has engaged in substantial community outreach, with school representatives attending over 100 stakeholder meetings, according to the project website. Gabe Glassman ’22, who often plays golf at the Weddington property, said the school seems to be implementing the feedback it has received from the Studio City community.

“I think the school is handling the pushback they are receiving from the community well, as they are adding or removing certain things as needed while keeping the local community in mind,” Glassman said.

Despite some objections from Studio City locals, Engelberg said the proposed project will benefit both the school and the local community.

“It’s going to be awesome, for [the school] and for Studio City,” Engelberg said. “[The River Park campus] will offer recreational opportunities for our neighbors in Studio City and for area children and will make significant improvements to the environmental footprint and impact of the site.”

Cross country runner and track and field athlete Will Samuels ’22 said the River Park campus’s running trails will diversify the cross country team’s practices.

“The proposed plans would definitely affect the way cross country runners practice,” Samuels said. “Currently, we are confined to running just on the upper school track and in a small area alongside the LA River. River Park will provide many more running trails, so there should be many more options that change the predictable way we currently practice.”

Engelberg said the school is optimistic that its plans for the property will eventually be realized.

“Getting plans approved for a project of the River Park’s size is never easy, but we’re confident that the project will be approved,” Engelberg said.