Aviation High School (California)

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Aviation High School
Address
2025 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Redondo Beach, California 90278
Coordinates 33°53′15″N 118°22′43″W / 33.8874°N 118.3785°W / 33.8874; -118.3785Coordinates: 33°53′15″N 118°22′43″W / 33.8874°N 118.3785°W / 33.8874; -118.3785
Information
Type Public
Opened 1957
Closed 1982
Principal

Hob Ulhs (1957–1966)
Ted Gossard (1966–1978)

Bob Fish (1978–1982)
Grades 9–12
Enrollment approx 1700 (1982)
Campus type Suburban
Color(s) Black and Orange
Mascot The Falcon
Newspaper Jet Stream
Yearbook Talon

Aviation High School (Aviation, AHS, Avi-Hi) was a secondary school located in Redondo Beach, California which was in operation from 1957 to 1982. The school was located at the corner of Manhattan Beach Boulevard and Aviation Boulevard (which runs north to the Los Angeles International Airport). Their athletic teams were known as the Falcons and the school colors were black and orange.

Because of mushrooming growth in the South Bay, Los Angeles beach communities (Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, and Hermosa Beach), the school was built in 1957 (at a cost of 4 million dollars) by the then "South Bay Union High School District" which has today broken into the Redondo Beach Unified School District and the Manhattan Beach Unified School District; the district included two other high schools: Redondo Union High School and Mira Costa High School. Other proposed names for the school were Pilot George High, Will Rogers High, Kittyhawk High and—the second runner-up—Aileen S. Hammond High.

Aviation High School served students from both Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach. At its construction, Aviation's facilities—largely single-story buildings radiating out from a central quad—were considered "ultra-modern". In the late 1960s, a large modern auditorium was added to the campus.

School closure[edit]

Aviation Park sign
The track and soccer field at the former Aviation High School

Because of budgetary constraints in the early 1980s, in part due to California Proposition 13 (1978), the "South Bay Union High School District" decided in November 1981 to close one of its three area high schools, but promised teachers and administrators that they would not lose their jobs. Savings were projected at $1 million in maintenance costs. After much deliberation (via a 21-member citizen's committee) and several public forums, the district decided in April 1982 to close Aviation.

Many in the South Bay community saw this decision as unsound (closure would result in overcrowding of the two remaining schools and would not be a viable long-term strategy if district enrollment increased; in addition, Aviation had the newest facilities of the three area high schools. Some saw the decision as based on area politics and geography (Redondo and Mira Costa High Schools were more centrally located and better anchored to their historic communities); some accused the decision of being in part motivated by the prospect of selling or leasing the facilities to Aviation High School's large corporate neighbor, the defense and credit-reporting company TRW. For some time after the school's closure, TRW did lease part of the facilities, including the gym, the track and field, and the auditorium. Although, the city still maintained the facilities.

In 1983, Aviation's non-graduating students were sent to Redondo Union High School and Mira Costa High School, depending on their residence location (to avoid overcrowding at Redondo High School, Mira Costa High School's resident limits were extended outside of Manhattan beach to incorporate part of Redondo Beach).

Classrooms of the campus were demolished in 1982, but the theater, gymnasium and track and field were maintained. The site of the campus is now the 14-acre (5.7 ha) "Aviation Park", home to the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center (with a 1457-seat theater, recently renovated), the Aviation Gymnasium (including a 12,000 sq ft (1,100 m²). and 6,300 sq ft (590 m²). gyms and a 1,221 sq ft (113 m²) dance room) and the Aviation Track & Field, where an artificial grass soccer field is now surrounded by a 440-yard, five-lane, all weather running track using the original curb.

In 2014, a mural depicting the school's mascot was erected in the remaining Aviation Gymnasium.[1] The gym currently serves as the venue for the co-rec program "Tri City," a dance for middle school students within the Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Manhattan Beach school districts.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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