In a stunning reversal, Harvard-Westlake School President Richard B. Commons last week abandoned controversial plans to build into the hillside residential neighborhood abutting the school’s Coldwater Canyon campus a 750-car parking structure, athletic field, and bridge.
Framing the decision as a “watershed moment” and as the start of the “next chapter” in the school’s history, Mr. Commons laid to rest concerns that the school might some day try to resurrect the project in a scaled down form, signaling in no uncertain terms that the days of Harvard-Westlake trying to put parking spaces on the open hillside across the street from its campus are over.
In choosing to make a clean break with the past, Mr. Commons has force-multiplied the beneficial effect of his decision to cancel the parking plan. Learning that the leader of their school is committed to preserving the hillside property as open space of one sort or another, environment-minded students, parents and staff at Harvard-Westlake will feel a great weight lifted from them.
They’ll be free again to love their school.
In June, Eric Preven and Joshua Preven won the LA Press Club award for Online Political Commentary. They can be followed on Twitter and Facebook @PrevenReport