Protestors rallied at one of oldest houses in North Hills to stop school from being built

North Hills residents held a protest to stop a charter school from building an elementary school at a potential historic house.

Amanda Palacios Image
Wednesday, July 6, 2022
Protestors rallied at oldest house in North Hills to stop school plans
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North Hills residents held a protest to stop Valor Academy from building a new elementary school next to one of the oldest houses in the community.

NORTH HILLS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Protestors gathered in North Hills at the site of one of the oldest houses in the community. The house dates all the way back to 1914. Neighbors say they're concerned about plans by Valor Academy to build a new elementary school on the lot.

"It's not a big enough area, there's already enough congestion in the morning and afternoon on Plummer here. We need more green spaces; we need more parks," said North Hills resident Tina Purwin.

Many community members say there are more than 20 schools in the area and they would rather preserve the house and use the land to build a park instead.

"They want to build this school in the middle of Plummer Street and Sepulveda Middle School is already at the corner. We really feel the best thing to do is to improve the schools and the infrastructure that we already have," said North Hills Preservation Consortium President Debora Masterson. "We don't need to build a new school we need to improve the schools."

Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez hasn't taken a position on the plan but submitted a letter to the Cultural Heritage Commission requesting the house be designated as a historical cultural monument. Even if that happens, officials with the charter school say they plan on preserving the house and will build the school campus around it.

"So, we have been working diligently with the local council office, with the Cultural Heritage Commission and we have full intention on preserving the house," said Valor Academy Executive Director Hrag Hamalian. "That has always been part of the plan. And what a beautiful way to take a historical monument, preserve it, and put it right next to the future of our community."

Valor Academy currently has its elementary school in Arleta and the school says moving the location would benefit the students and parents.

"I think for our parents the proximity of the schools is also very important because ultimately the morning time just become crucial times for them dropping off their students," said Valor Academy High School Principal Dr. Evelyn Licea.

The school is still in escrow with the current homeowner, but the Cultural Heritage Commission will have another meeting in the near future to decide if the property will be designated as a historical house.

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