Harvard-Westlake School drops sports center construction fight

A tennis ball on a hard court. Photo from Pixabay.

Harvard-Westlake School announced Monday that it has entered into an agreement to purchase Weddington Golf & Tennis in Studio City in order to build an athletics center as a possible alternative to one closer to its campus that has faced community opposition.

The golf course is less than a mile from the Harvard-Westlake campus on Coldwater Canyon Avenue, south of Ventura Boulevard.

The private school has been pursuing a plan for several years to build an athletics center and parking structure on property it owns just west of Coldwater, but some community groups, including one that formed called Save Coldwater Canyon!, have been opposed over concerns about increased traffic during construction, the destruction of open space and other issues.

“This is a watershed moment for our school, our students, and our community,” Harvard-Westlake President Rick Commons said. “Our school has been a proud and engaged member of the Studio City community for 80 years. Harvard-Westlake’s purchase of the Weddington property allows the school to fulfill its own mission in a manner that is consistent with the neighborhood’s goals for the property. Everybody benefits.”

The school said in a news release it was in the preliminary stages of studying the possibilities for the Weddington property while it re-evaluates its plan at the Coldwater property. It also said the golf and tennis facilities at Weddington will remain unchanged while it goes through the planning process.

The school also said it intends to allow the public to access portions of the athletics center, and that it will make improvements to the property adjacent to the L.A. River trail and intends to preserve as much open space as possible at the site.

Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian, who represents the Studio City area, said he supported the school’s moves.

“I’m glad that Harvard-Westlake is shelving its plans to build a parking structure across the street from its Coldwater campus. They deserve credit for listening to the serious concerns that the community and I raised about the project, and their announced agreement to purchase Weddington Golf & Tennis shows they are ready to move in another direction,” Krekorian said.

He added, “Since my days as a state Assembly member, I have worked hard to preserve open space and improve L.A. River access at Weddington, while successfully opposing any plans to build housing or other intrusive structures on the site. As Harvard-Westlake moves forward with its new plans, I will continue to advocate for Weddington to remain an environmental, aesthetic and recreational asset to the community, and I look forward to working with the school and the surrounding community to make sure that happens.”

–City News Service