By Jason KUROSU
The Draft Environmental Impact Report for Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy’s modernization project has been released and is currently available for public comment until Aug. 27.
Titled the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy Draft Specific Plan, the project is intended to upgrade the campus in several facets, including modernizing and expanding the Arts and Humanities building, renovating the high school building, constructing a 240-space parking structure and a new outdoor athletic area. The Plan would also have the enrollment cap for the school increased from 385 to 425 students.
Carmella Grahn, Sacred Heart director of Finance, Planning and Operations, said that traffic issues and a lack of parking played into the decision for a new parking structure. Current parking provides 74 spaces. The proposed structure would not be higher than 3.5 levels and would not exceed 99,000 sq. ft.
The Arts and Humanities building will be demolished and a 500-seat assembly area constructed in its place. The new facility would include fire safety upgrades, as well as improved ADA access. A two-story building called Cottages 1 and 2 would be demolished and an outdoor garden would be constructed there, along with a pedestrian access corridor.
The west wing of the high school building would be demolished and replaced with a new two-story section, while the remainder of the building would undergo renovation. Up to three tennis courts and a building with restroom facilities would be part of the plan for sports and recreation areas, along with additional parking for this area.
Three alternatives to the project are also in the draft EIR. Outside of the no-build alternative, there are two other alternatives
The Reduced Project Development Alternative would involve a minimized parking structure and a much larger emphasis on addition and renovation rather than demolition. The Retained Cottages Alternative would be mostly similar to the proposed project, except without the demolition of Cottages 1 and 2.
The draft EIR notes that the Retained Cottages would be the closest alternative to achieving the project objectives, though the No Build Alternative would yield the least intrusive environmental impacts.
During the peak construction period, which would be during Phase 2, the construction of the Arts and Humanities Building, trucks would be in operation from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The EIR calculates that 67 inbound and outbound truck trips would be generated daily during the construction period.
Glendale City Councilmember Ara Najarian decried the project at the July 22 Glendale City Council meeting, citing traffic and safety concerns once the project is completed.
“They’ve submitted plans for a massive expansion of that school, which will permit them to hold events of up to 500 people in attendance, serving alcohol an unlimited amount of times during the year. Imagine that if you live on Chevy Chase Canyon, that up to five to six times a week, there can be revelers driving up your canyon, drinking and driving down Chevy Chase Canyon, which as you all know, is a very dangerous, twisty and treacherous roadway for residents, drivers and pedestrians.”
Should the project move forward, it would be a longterm project, taking place over a period of 10 years.
Those interested in viewing the draft EIR may visit http://www.lcf.ca.gov/planning.