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A Subway Runs Through It: School District Officials Oppose Tunneling Under Beverly Hills High

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The Avenue of the Stars/Constellation route being considered for the subway's Westside extension would mean tunneling "through the heart of Century City," including underneath Beverly Hills High School. Though this option is attractive to prominent developers, it would dramatically alter plans Beverly Hills Unified School District has to renovate its outdated, "creaky and rattling," 22-acre campus, say district officials, according to the LA Times.

Beverly Hills officials contend the Santa Monica Boulevard option, running on the northern edge of Century City, is both "cheaper and less disruptive" and would be a straighter path. MTA awaits the final environmental impact report on the 9-mile extension, estimated to cost $5.34 billion (if completed by 2022).

The debate is pitting the school district, which is planning to spend $150 million in voter-approved bond money to modernize Beverly High, against some prominent developers and many Los Angeles homeowners who favor a station in central Century City.

Says Beverly Hills schools Supt. Richard Douglas, "The available land where we can build anything above or below ground is exactly where they propose to build a metro tunnel." Engineers are evaluating how to accommodate the school district's concerns should the Avenue of the Stars/Constellation site get the green light. "We think we can work with them, and they can get what they need done underground," said an MTA spokeswoman.

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Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who is on the MTA board, said ongoing safety and ridership studies would be key. "The decision the MTA should make is to maximize the benefit to the public," he said, "not to any particular property owner."