Modernization on track at Burroughs School

| March 28, 2024 | 0 Comments

BURROUGHS MIDDLE SCHOOL looks as picturesque today as when it opened in the 1920s. But a closer look at the $208 million Modernization Project shows many upgrades and new buildlings are in store. Some are just around the corner.
Rendering by Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects

Final phase is estimated to be complete in 2027

John Burroughs Middle School (JBMS) in Hancock Park is celebrating its 100th year during a growth spurt.

The campus in many ways looks as charming as it did when it opened a century ago. A welcoming brick façade showcases its historic buildings and landscaped grounds at the southeast corner of Sixth Street and McCadden Place.

This idyllic scene is interrupted with the construction of a three-story “shop” building just south on McCadden Place. Further on, toward Wilshire Boulevard, the former Wilshire Warriors baseball field now serves as a temporary construction staging area.

“We are currently on track to finalize the renovations to the shop building by this summer, with plans to complete the new three-story building comprising 24 classrooms, along with food service and locker room facilities, by this fall,” a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) said.

New buildings and classrooms, in addition to  upgrades to the school’s historic campus, have been in the planning stage since 2016. Construction got underway in 2022.

NEW PLAYGROUND and classroom building at Burroughs Middle School. Renderings by Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects

“There are many facets to this project: new construction, upgrades, installation of new technologies, new furniture, etc., all of which are being done to secure, preserve and make existing buildings more resilient while providing modern new spaces for future generations of learners and educators,” the spokesperson said.

When the $208 million Burroughs Middle School Comprehensive Modernization Project is finished, the nearly 11-acre campus at 600 McCadden Pl. will have 27 new classrooms making the the total number 71. Handicapped accessibility will be improved, security strengthened and parking improved, according to the Project’s Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR).

The Burroughs student population has grown beyond its original capacity from when the neighborhood school opened in 1924 with 400 students.

Before construction started  in 2022, enrollment was approximately 1,700 students.

That number has today dropped to 1,348 sixth through eighth grade students who arrive at the school in cars and buses, on bikes and on foot.

“The project maintains the ability for the enrollment to return to the enrollment it supported prior to construction…

“The project was planned to support the long-term projected enrollment for the school and its highly sought-after magnet program,” the school spokesperson said.

JOHN BURROUGHS campus rendering, viewed from Sixth St. and McCadden Place when construction is complete in 2027.

2027 completion date

“The final phase of construction is anticipated to be completed in 2027. That phase encompasses the addition of new specialty classrooms; upgrades to the existing administration, gym, and classroom buildings; and enhancements to the parking lots and play fields.”

The school has remained open throughout construction of the original Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects design that DLR Group architects is implementing.

“Interim classrooms and temporary facilities were installed on the campus and are being used in order for school to remain open and ensure that learning can continue uninterrupted during construction,” the LAUSD spokesperson said.

Traffic problems

  Some of the issues local residents addressed early on have been fixed: accessible entrance solutions, building new classrooms and a cafeteria, and upgrading the historic buildings built in 1924.

Others, not so much. These include traffic mitigation for McCadden Place, at least according to one resident who lives across the street from the school and asked not to be  named.

The traffic flow should improve when the project is complete, the LAUSD spokesperson told us. “A new parking lot and bus drop-off are being constructed on the school property along Wilshire Boulevard. The staff parking and busses will no longer co-

mingle with traffic on McCadden, where parent drop-off and pick-up occur, which will help alleviate congestion currently experienced on McCadden in front of the school.”

Noise is another factor that falls on deaf ears, the McCadden resident told us.

School officials claim resident concerns are addressed, such as when a June Street resident’s call was made regarding excessive noise. The culprit was a generator, which was moved further away from the caller’s backyard fence, eliminating the noise issue.

Residents with questions or concerns can reach out to the LAUSD Facilities Office of Community Relations at 213-241-1340.

A little history

The original campus was composed of four Italian Renaissance Revival-style buildings now designated as historic, and these will receive upgrades under the project.

They include the auditorium on McCadden Place and the main school building facing Sixth Street.

The campus has been identified as a historic district eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and the California Register of Historical Resources.

Academic excellence

Burroughs Middle School has been redesignated for 2024 as a California School to Watch for demonstrating academic excellence, social equity and responsiveness to the needs of young adolescents. Schools are reevaluated every three years for the honor.

See the Final EIR on the Burroughs Modernization Project at

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