Secretary’s Standards

Jane B. Eisner Middle School
Los Angeles, California

The Jane B. Eisner Middle School has a new home in a former 1923 Pacific Bell Company telephone garage. The building is a City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument and located within the Harvard Heights Historic Preservation Overlay Zone. Seeing an opportunity for a new charter school to occupy the building, the Camino Nuevo Academy planned a school that would provide the next level of education for students attending their nearby elementary school. Frederick Fisher & Partners Architects designed an adaptive reuse project integrating the necessary seismic upgrades and other improvements to accommodate a school user.

Chattel worked closely with the team to ensure the design conformed with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. This meant retaining and properly treating the most important features of the building: its historic garage doors, ornamental concrete door surrounds, the high volume, vaulted interior spaces and bowstring truss ceiling. It also meant careful selection of new materials and paint colors for compatibility with old.

Chattel prepared a report evaluating impacts of the project under the California Environmental Quality Act, ultimately finding a less than significant historical resources impact. The project also involved a substantial public outreach component because the project site is located within an Historic Preservation Overlay Zone. Chattel participated in numerous meetings with neighborhood groups to ensure project goals were understood and that community concerns were heard. This also included consultation with the City of Los Angeles Office of Historic Resources and Los Angeles Conservancy. The official opening ceremony for the Jane B. Eisner Middle School was in February 2013 and the school is now actively being used to serve local students.

The project won a California Preservation Foundation Design Award in 2013.