Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Students try to get their bearings on the first day of school Monday as they make their way to their first class at the new Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools complex, which occupies the site of the former Ambassador Hotel.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Students in the high school science class of Larissa Karan get an impromptu lesson from Paul Schrade about the murals depicting Robert F. Kennedy in the library on the first day of school at the new Robert F. Kennedy schools complex.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Paul Schrade gets a hug from Esther Soliman, principal of Los Angeles High School of the Arts on the Robert F. Kennedy campus on the first day of school Monday. Schrade was a key player in bringing the school to the site.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Students look for their names on a list indicating which of the schools they should report to on the first day of classes at the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools complex. The L.A. Unified campus, which comprises six independent schools, opened its doors to about 3,700 students Monday morning.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

From left, Linda Dishman of the L.A. Conservancy, Shannon Haber, project designer David Goodale, and Los Angeles Unified School District facilities director James Sohn tour a school campus built on the site of the old Ambassador Hotel.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

Robert F. Kennedy Inspiration Park, by Richard Wyatt and May Sun, at the campus on the site of the old Ambassador Hotel.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

View of the east entrance to the Robert F. Kennedy complex of schools.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

Architectural detail of the campus at the site of the Ambassador Hotel.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Unified School District facilities director James Sohn, left; David Goodale, the project design principal; and Linda Dishman of the L.A. Conservancy, walk over replica tiles at the schools complex where the Ambassador Hotel used to stand.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

Linda Dishman of the L.A. Conservancy is reflected in the mirror of the entrance to the facade of the old Cocoanut Grove during a tour of the campus at the old Ambassador Hotel site. Only the east wall of the Cocoanut Grove was preserved.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Unified School District facilities director James Sohn in the auditorium during a tour of the new school. The colonnade at the sides and rear of the auditorium is similar to that of the old Cocoanut Grove nightclub. The school was built on the site of the Ambassador Hotel, where Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

David Goodale, the project design principal, during a tour of the Central Los Angeles Learning Center No. 1. The school was built on the site of the old Ambassador Hotel, where Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

The front lawn and facade of the Central Los Angeles Learning Center No. 1.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

A 1975 photo of the Ambassador Hotel at 3400 Wilshire Blvd.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Margaret Burk / Los Angeles Times Library

Sen. Robert F. Kennedy speaks to campaign workers June 5, 1968, as his wife Ethel, left, and California campaign manager and speaker of the California Assembly, Jesse Unruh, look on at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. After making a short speech, Kennedy was assassinated in an adjacent room.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: ASSOCIATED PRESS / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Robert F. Kennedy just after he was shot at the Ambassador Hotel on June 5, 1968.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Boris Yaro / Los Angeles Times

Author George Plimpton, front left, and J.W. Gallivan, Jr., a Robert Kennedy aide, try to wrestle the pistol out of the hand of Sirhan Sirhan, who had just fired the fatal shots at presidential hopeful Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: ASSOCIATED PRESS / ASSOCIATED PRESS

A Los Angeles police officer inspects the area of the Ambassador Hotel kitchen where Robert F. Kennedy was shot.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times / UCLA Library

The pantry in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles where Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968 as it looked on June 5, 1998.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: REED SAXON / Associated Press

A 1987 file photo of the fountain near some of the banquet rooms upstairs in the Ambassador Hotel.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Michael Edwards / Los Angeles Times

The lobby of the Ambassador Hotel in 2003, still furnished.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Kevin P. Casey / Los Angeles Times

Lena Horne performing at the Cocoanut Grove in 1956.

The inside of the former Cocoanut Grove nightclub in 2003. It had been redecorated a number of times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Kevin P. Casey / Los Angeles Times

The entryway of the Ambassador Hotel in 2003. The hotel was closed in 1988.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Kevin P. Casey / Los Angeles Times

The Ambassador Hotel as seen in 2004 from the roof of a nearby apartment building.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Damon Winter / Los Angeles Times

Old furniture sits outside the Ambassador Hotel in 2005 waiting to be auctioned off before the building was demolished to make way for a new school.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Heavy equipment demolishes the Ambassador Hotel in the Mid-Wilshire District in 2005 to make way for the new Central Los Angeles Learning Center No. 1.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times

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New schools rise from Ambassador Hotel site

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New schools rise from Ambassador Hotel site

The site of Robert Kennedy’s assassination in 1968 opened Monday as the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools. Built at a cost of more than $578 million, the campus of six separate schools is the city’s most expensive. From the Wilshire Boulevard frontage, the main building looks like a modern reimagining of the historic Ambassador Hotel,  demolished to make way for the school. All that’s left of the original is the east wall of what was once the Cocoanut Grove nightclub and a few salvaged items, such as an entry portal and a built-in clock. Take a virtual tour of the campus with these panoramas: Cocoanut Grove Theatre | Faculty lounge | Library | Quad | West courtyard
Read Howard Blume’s full story “A new year, a new school complex for L.A. Unified.”

9 Comments

  1. September 13, 2010, 7:38 am

    A pathetic waste of money. I will never donate to the local schools begging for money again – they clearly have all the money they need

    By: Michael
  2. September 13, 2010, 10:51 am

    You pay your taxes, right? Thanks for the donation!

    By: 806051
  3. September 13, 2010, 1:14 pm

    where is all the writing on the walls? Oh I forgot there are not any students there yet. Waste of money at my expense. Oh Yes I'm a teacher

    By: rsolirsolita@cci.edu
  4. September 13, 2010, 1:24 pm

    I agree that this is a total waste of tax payer money. I give it ONE week before we start seeing the first signs of graffiti everywhere; and since we are on the subject, this isn't going to improve the drop out rate either.

    By: esan
  5. September 14, 2010, 4:26 pm

    It amazes me that money can be spent on upscale caucasian schools without any concern yet when it is done to improve lower income communities suddenly it's a waste. The most embarrassing comment was by the so called " Teacher", as an educator ( I use the term lightly) you should be ashamed!!! Drugs, Sex and other indiscretions exist in all schools but ALL children deserve a chance regardless of their zip code.

    By: mortiz1973
  6. September 20, 2010, 10:22 am

    I agree that this is a huge waste of money. I, however, also think this is a wonderful thing for the children of Los Angeles. To think they have access to such a wonderful school is amazing.

    My high school was brand new when I went to it in Santa Ana. I was the first graduating class. The school is now on the verge of closure due to lack of good teachers and a huge minority population. It was a very expensive school to build just like this one (not nearly as expensive, but at the time it was more than people wanted to spend). We heard the same things. The students were going to ruin the school, there would be graffiti and the school would be ruined by drugs and gang violence. My school is dying due to lack of good teachers who want to help the minority kids. It is the parents and teachers that fail the kids. Not new expensive schools. Hopefully this new school in LA will provide them what they need to succeed.

    By: Stephanie
  7. November 22, 2010, 10:51 am

    [...] become a learning complex named after RFK. See and tour the school in photos and panoramas, “New Schools Rise From Ambassador Hotel Site.” A collection of photographs shows those fateful last days, “Robert F. Kennedy | [...]

  8. December 23, 2010, 8:48 pm

    the quotes chiseled in stone facing Wilshire Bl should meditated on by everyone every day

    By: pathfinder
  9. May 10, 2011, 7:36 pm

    Stephanie,
    Stephanie,
    I attended schools in LAUSD at the height of the baby boom. Most of our classes were held in temporary frame bungalows sitting on playground areas. There were more than 40 students in each class. Many of our teachers had graduated from 2-year Normal Schools. In the sixth grade, we received the results of our standardized tests. I was reading at 1st year college level, and I was in the middle group. (Yes, we had three-group reading.) We, as students, were responsible for our achievement. We studied. Do not think I was rich. My mother fed a family of 6 on $20 a week. Things were cheaper then, but not that much cheaper. She was very ingenious.She did take us to the library every two weeks, and each of us checked out ten books, which we read. I went to the movies a grand total of three times before I started working at a cafeteria in Hollywood to pay for my expenses at the state college I attended. (Those expenses included bus fare. I had to ride a total of three hours a day.) I think we must start expecting more from all of our students, and expensive structures are beside the point. Students must realize that blaming others for their own failures is the surest way to perpetuate those failures. They must see that education is an opportunity, and that once that opportunity is squandered, a lot of unnecessarily difficult years are almost certain to follow. Those who think they "get away" with something when they pass on studying to tap a keg at a friend's house need to realize that teachers and parents will not be living with them for the rest of their lives. It's time for students, especially "minority" students, to stand up and say to those who doubt them, "We are smart. We are strong, and we will succeed. If you don't want to help us, fine. Which way to the local library?" I believe they can do it. I have known them. They are every bit as strong and as intelligent as I.

    By: guest144

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