Studio City residents upset over private school's plan for beloved golf, tennis club

People who live in the area, including popular science educator Bill Nye, are skeptical.

Josh Haskell Image
Thursday, July 13, 2023
Studio City residents upset over plan for beloved golf, tennis club
The Harvard-Westlake School hopes to build an athletic complex at the Weddington Golf and Tennis Club in Studio City - but residents are saying no to the plan.

STUDIO CITY, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The beloved Weddington Golf and Tennis Club in Studio City has been open to the public since 1955. In 2019, the 16-acre facility was purchased by private school Harvard-Westlake.

The school hopes to build an athletic complex that it claims will remain open to the public. But residents, including Studio City resident and popular science educator Bill Nye, are skeptical and voiced their opposition virtually to the planning committee Wednesday.

READ ALSO | Residents protest plan to convert Studio City golf facility into sports complex

The Harvard Westlake School, which purchased the golf and tennis facility four years ago, plans to transform the space into sports fields, gyms, tennis courts along with walking and jogging trails.

"I play disc golf and I go there quite often in the afternoon. You're not going to have access to it in the afternoon ... I understand Harvard-Westlake is well intended, but it's a private school. They're going to have priority over this," Nye said.

"This place is a beautiful community center. It draws people from all different backgrounds. It's never been a private club. No dues. Parking is free. It's $15 for a bucket of balls," said Studio City resident Teri Austin.

Harvard-Westlake's plans include two sports fields, two gyms, eight tennis courts, a 50-meter pool and a 500 car underground parking lot, plus walking and jogging trails. The school's president says their plan is consistent with the desires of the community and meetings have been held.

"The gym, the fields, the track and the pool will be available for community groups when not in use by Harvard-Westlake. The new tennis courts and putting green and historic clubhouse and the traditional southwest café inside the clubhouse will be open to the public from dawn to dusk," said Harvard-Westlake President Rick Commons.

Harvard-Westlake says dozens of changes have been made after their original proposal, but residents opposed tell Eyewitness News the project map looks the same and say the city can't afford to lose anymore trees.

"When Harvard-Westlake refers to their project as open space they are counting acres of hardscape and gravel and concrete," Austin said. "They're going to dig enough earth out of the water shed next to the L.A. River to half fill the Rose Bowl. That will be seven months of every two and half minutes, six days a week of dump trucks removing good agricultural soil and replacing it with concrete. It's a climate crime."

On Aug. 24 the community planning commission will decide whether to recommend this project or not. Construction would take roughly three years.