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L.A. college district agrees to lease part of former Van de Kamp site to city

May 26, 2010 |  8:04 pm

The Los Angeles Community College District agreed Wednesday to lease just under half of the renovated Van de Kamp bakery building to the city of Los Angeles to operate job training and placement classes and offices.

The decision came over raucous protest from the community group that fought to turn the historic Glassell Park building into a satellite campus of Los Angeles City College, a plan the district has said it had to abandon because of state budget cuts. Members of the Van de Kamp Coalition accused the seven trustees of making a backroom deal to get revenue from the city, which will pay $400,000 rent over four years.

"You have turned this site into a profit-seeking site," coalition member Laura Gutierrez said.

Trustees, who approved the lease on a 7-0 vote, said there was no way they could afford to run a satellite campus. "The district had to cut 6,000 classes this year," trustee Georgia Mercer said. "We could not predict the whole world economy could be so impacted."

Another building constructed as part of the $72-million project, funded with voter-approved bond money, was rented to a charter school last year. Part of the rent money will go to cover $150,000 in tenant improvements made to the Van de Kamp building to accommodate the city. The district's legal counsel ruled earlier that state law prohibited spending bond money on tenant improvements.

-- Gale Holland