LA builds arts palace for the untalented

Los Angeles Unified’s new arts school will have a very expensive “world-class” building — but the school won’t enroll the most talented students, reports the LA Times. In fact, students with artistic, musical and dramatic talent will be urged to go elsewhere.

. . . usually in the case of a school play, “The part’s going to go to the kid who shows the greatest talent, and that’s not the kind of school that this is going to be,” (district administrator Richard) Alonzo said. “This is really looking at building potential in communities that have been underserved, for kids that really haven’t had the chance.”

While the school might tell star performers that they would likely be happier elsewhere, it won’t refuse to accept them if they really want to attend, he said.

For years, neighborhood students attended low-performing schools. The district now has put $232 million into the unnamed arts school (naming rights go for $25 million): It has space for 1,700 students.

Up a broad flight of stairs, the campus’ main buildings offer three dance studios with sprung maple flooring.

A professional-quality, 950-seat theater. Music classrooms with acoustic tiling and special whiteboards designed for musical notation.

Floor-to-ceiling windows with motorized blackout shades. Ceiling-mounted projectors in every classroom, allowing teachers to display lessons from computers.

Track lighting in the hallways to illuminate student art. An outdoor atrium for firing Japanese raku pottery. And the school’s centerpiece, a conical library whose dazzling interior swirls upward to an off-center skylight.

The nearby Roybal Learning Center, plagued by toxics issues, cost $400 million; it will serve 2,500 students.

Let’s hope LA has a few bucks left over for “world-class” teaching, curriculum design, books and technology.