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The Most Expensive High School in LA's History Finally Opens

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Yesterday was the ribbon cutting and grand opening of a school that has gone down on the record books of local history thanks to its years of woefully planning and eventually enormous price tag. Yes, Belmont Roybal Learning Center is up and running.

The school is "one of 74 new schools completed as part of LAUSD's $12.6 billion new school construction program to end involuntary busing and year-round calendars, and to provide every student a seat in a neighborhood school" and is both a crowning jewel and a thorn in the side for the massive district. The project started twenty years ago, but hit a major snag in the 1990s when it was determined that the site had soil contamination, described by as grounds beleaguered by "old oil wells, and potentially harmful gases -- methane and hydrogen sulfide -- associated with petroleum were seeping to the surface."

The LAUSD did not give up, however, and sought bids from private companies to address the issue and construction moved forward. They hit another setback a few years ago when earthquakes destroyed 60% of the buildings. After pouring more time, money, and other resources, the school was completed and opened for matriculation last month not as Belmont as intended, but re-named to honor the late Congressman Edward R. Roybal, and set up as a "learning community" as opposed to a more traditional high school.