Extreme extravagance

LA Unveils $578 Million School, Costliest In The Nation, by Christina Hoag, Associated Press, August 22, 2010

Think back to your high school—the maple-wood flooring, fine art murals, expansive manicured grounds, glass-ceiled atrium, state-of-the-art swimming pool, orchestra-pit auditorium…Doesn’t sound familiar? You must not have attended a “Taj Mahal,” a group of 100 or so public schools that cost more than $100 million to build. The newest member of this exclusive club is the $578 million Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools complex, due to open in Los Angeles this fall. It breaks the record for the most expensive public school ever, surpassing the $235 million whopper in New York City and the $185 million doozer in Brunswick, New Jersey. To be fair, some of the cost went to historical preservation, as RFK’s main building will inhabit the converted Ambassador Hotel, site of RFK’s assassination in 1968. And the industrial-style schools of the 1970s could surely use with some sprucing up. But nearly $600 million for 4,200 students in a 700,000 district—in a state that’s $20 billion in the hole—and counting—on education? Now that’s rich.

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