UHEF & Uni News


Aug, 2014

Emerson Middle School getting an overdue makeover

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[Posted August 19, 2014] For almost as long as Uni has been around, Emerson Middle School has been one of its core feeder schools. Now, that campus is finally getting a long overdue overhaul.

Pictured above: A giant new gymnasium rising on the Emerson Middle School campus. (Photos courtesy UHEF)

The Emerson campus, named for 19th Century American literary star Ralph Waldo Emerson, was originally built on 8.7 acres from 1935-40. Since then, a series of bungalows and small additions have been added, but no significant new buildings or added spaces. Recognizing its outdated nature, the L.A. Unified School District adopted a plan in 2011 to add:

[A] new gymnasium, music classrooms, performance space, upgrades to the existing science classrooms, reconfigured staff parking and student drop-off areas, and a synthetic turf field and play space.

The project is budgeted at $18,074,338 and was expected to be completed in the fall of 2014. School began on the Emerson campus on August 12, and while there has been significant progress – notably the new drop-off areas on Selby Avenue – the new gymnasium is merely structural steel at this point and construction is continuing. Perhaps the project can be completed in time for the next school year of 2015-16. The planned layout and new look of these facilities is shown below:

Layout of a renovated Emerson Middle School.

Layout of a renovated Emerson Middle School.

Drawing of the now-under-construction Emerson gymnasium.

Drawing of the now-under-construction Emerson gymnasium.

Emerson alumni will recognize that the new layout eliminates the old asphalt lunch and physical education area behind the classroom building in favor of parking, and scraps the shop buildings and classroom bungalows for the new gym. Also noteworthy is the change at Emerson into a Community Charter School, which took effect with the new semester:

A banner above the Emerson main entrance notes its new Community Charter status.

A banner above the Emerson main entrance notes its new Community Charter status.

Although traditionally strong schools, neither Uni or Emerson had seen much actual campus infrastructure improvement in recent decades, but both are now significant construction sites, with better facilities coming on-line soon for students and the community. It’s a promising sign for the future of both.


4 thoughts on “Emerson Middle School getting an overdue makeover

  1. Alan Bonn

    Nice article Rich. Glad to see that they are not doing anything to the Admin. Bldg. & Auditorium. The school was originally designed by Richard Neutra, an internationaly renowned architect.


  2. elliott

    Good Morning UHEF:

    I graduated Emerson in 1971 and fairfax high in 1974, i do airshow photography on the side and work for a middle school here in the san fernando valley Ive attended the 3 Redevelopment Meetings at emerson held last year and since then ive been photographing the Emerson Construction Project each month and when its completed i will be there hoping to shoot some basketball. any questions
    ea90048@aol.com i reside in van nuys ca


  3. Caylie

    Hi, I am a current student when you are reading this. I am in 8th grade. I am writing this in Mr. Kamm’s room right in front of Ms.dillmores classroom. My sister is a 6th grader. She has a boyfriend named Inky. Weird. I am done for now, I have to go to Ms. Deillmore’s class. Bye


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