$350 Million L.A. High School Finally Opens

Toxic gases and the threat of quakes caused lengthy construction delays.

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A $350 million high school located in downtown Los Angeles is finally open for classes after serious environmental threats led to a decade of construction delays, the Associated Press reports.

The Edward R. Roybal Learning Center was originally touted as a solution to classroom overcrowding, an issue that plagued L.A.in the mid-90s. But when construction site issues including threats of toxic gas emissions and susceptibility to earthquake damage halted construction in 2000 and 2002, the once promising education venture quickly became a symbol of government failure and wasted taxpayer dollars. In 2003, District Attorney Steve Cooley defined the construction project as "a public works disaster of biblical proportions."

Today the school looks much like a college campus and comprises several buildings surrounding a grassy courtyard. Highlights include a gymnasium that can hold 3,000 people, a dance studio with padded, maple flooring, and nearly 500 underground parking spaces.

To keep the threat of toxic gas emission in check, the city also installed a $17 million toxic gas mitigation system that costs $250,000 a year to operate and light poles topped with vents designed to help harmful methane and hydrogen sulfide gases escape.

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Los Angeles