$579 Million Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools Opens, Photos
Former Ambassador Hotel Site And Location of Robert Kennedy Assassination Now The Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools Complex (photos)
The Ambassador Hotel site where Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated has been transformed into a massive educational complex that bears the name of the former Attorney General. The $578 million Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools complex, one of th most ambitious and expensive public education projects in Los Angeles, opened Monday, welcoming thousands of public school children.
Many parents of the 3,700 kindergarten through 12th grade students reacted positively to the six learning centers on the 23-acre site in the crowded neighborhood west of downtown.
"They made it like a museum," said Maria Vilar, mother of a fifth-grader.
Marta Reyes said she loved the new school.
"It's beautiful," said Reyes, mother of a sixth-grader. "It was a little complicated finding our way around because it's so big, but it's very nice."
Robert F. Kennedy was killed in 1968 at in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel by Sirhan Sirhan. The Ambassador was legendary hot spot for the famous and powerful and some preservations wanted it restored for historical purposes after the Ambassador shut its doors in 1989.
But the city of Los Angeles moved forward with the public school complex proposal
The 23-acre campus has six different learning centers, and features an underground garage, swimming pool, a state-of-the-art auditorium, soccer fields, public art pieces and a marble mural memorial to Kennedy.
A state-of-the-art school "is exactly what these kids deserve," said Board of Education President Monica Garcia. "This has been an amazing investment in public education."
She was speaking of both the RFK campus and a $19.5-billion school construction program. When it began, 27,000 students were being bused out of overcrowded neighborhood schools, and even more were forced to get by with shortened academic years in schools that operated year-round, she said.
The RFK campus can fill its six small schools with students from within a nine-block radius.
"All the kids are walking, walking to school," said school district spokeswoman Shannon Haber.