Edward R. Roybal Learning Center

Coordinates: 34°3′39″N 118°15′16″W / 34.06083°N 118.25444°W / 34.06083; -118.25444
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Edward R. Roybal Learning Center
1200 Colton Street
Los Angeles, California
United States
EstablishedSeptember 3, 2008
School districtLAUSD
PrincipalBlanca Cruz
Staff49.33 (FTE)[1]
Enrollment829 (2018–19)[1]
Student to teacher ratio16.81[1]
Color(s)  Maroon

Edward R. Roybal Learning Center (formerly known as Belmont Learning Center, Vista Hermosa Learning Center, and Central Los Angeles High School 11), is a secondary school located in the Westlake area of Los Angeles, California. Built to alleviate overcrowding at the nearby Belmont High School, the school's construction was met with controversy surrounding its cost and the discoveries of harmful gases and an earthquake fault, leading to a temporary suspension in 1999 that wasn't lifted until 2003. While development began in 1988, the school did not open until 20 years later on September 3, 2008.[2]


Roybal Learning Center before its opening in May 2008.
The Vista Hermosa Natural Park, which is connected to the school, in 2013.

Early planning and construction of a new school called the Belmont Learning Center began in 1988 as an effort to reduce overcrowding at the nearby Belmont High School, with some of the land previously used for the Los Angeles City Oil Field.[3][4] The school received some pushback due to the cost and how it would be financed.[5] It was designed by McLarand Vasquez & Partners, with the construction beginning in 1997. However, this was halted in 1999 after tests revealed methane and hydrogen sulfide gases within the land, stemming from the oil field.[6] Two years later, with the construction stalled, it was revealed that the land was also situated on a major earthquake fault.[7]

After the project was temporarily suspended in 2002, WWCOT took over from McLarand Vasquez & Partners in 2003 with the backing of new Superintendent Roy Romer and the LAUSD Board of Education.[8][9] In 2004, more than half of the buildings were demolished in light of the earthquake fault.[9] Construction was restarted in 2006, necessitating the demolition of some of the already completed classroom buildings and administration building.[8] The total cost for the school was estimated to be around $400 million.[9]

Edward R. Roybal (1916–2005), whom the school was renamed after in 2008.

On March 25, 2008, the LAUSD Board of Education voted to rename the Vista Hermosa Learning Center to the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center, honoring former city councilman and Congressman Edward R. Roybal, who represented the area where the school is situated.[10] On July 19, 2008, Vista Hermosa Park opened its doors before the fall opening of Roybal Learning Center, with an opening-day celebration that featured Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Supervisor Gloria Molina.[11][12] On September 3, 2008, Roybal Learning Center opened for 2,400 students, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony held the day before.[13][14][15]

Academics and programs[edit]

The Roybal Learning Center opened with four small learning communities—the International School of Languages (ISL), the Activists for Educational Empowerment (AEE), the Business and Finance Academy (BFA), and the Computer Science Academy (CSA)—as well as two independent pilot schools—Civitas School of Leadership and the School for Visual Arts and Humanities.[14] The school later replaced ISL with the Academy for Social Work and Child Development (SWCD) and renamed the Activists for Educational Empowerment to Academy of Educational Empowerment. Each Academy has its own purpose and different techniques of teaching: BFA is more about involving students with the business atmosphere; SWCD trains students for jobs in the fields of social work and child development; CSA is about involving students with the computer atmosphere; and AEE provides their students with a sense of empowerment and helps them get involved.

In 2021, a new magnet school called the Roybal School of Film and Television Production opened on campus, with the support of high-profile celebrities such as George Clooney, Mindy Kaling, Kerry Washington, Eva Longoria and Don Cheadle.[16]

Schools housed alongside Roybal[edit]

Current schools[edit]

Former schools[edit]

  • Civitas School of Leadership (2008–2014)[14]
  • School for the Visual Arts and Humanities (2008–2015)[14]
  • Los Angeles Academy of Art and Enterprise (2016–2021)


  1. ^ a b c "Edward R. Roybal Learning Center". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  2. ^ Smith, Robert (October 20, 1999). "Belmont Learning Center". National Public Radio.
  3. ^ Purdum, Todd S. (July 28, 1999). "A $200 Million School That May Never Open". The New York Times.
  4. ^ Guzman, Richard. "Finally, a Class Act". Los Angeles Daily News.
  5. ^ Pyle, Amy (August 6, 1996). "Despite Funding Questions, Board Moves to Build Belmont Learning Center". Los Angeles Times.
  6. ^ Hoag, Christina (September 5, 2008). "Long-awaited school finally opens in L.A." SFGATE.
  7. ^ Pollock, Danny (December 4, 2002). "Quake Fault Found Under L.A. School". SFGATE.
  8. ^ a b "A New Start. Finally". The Architect's Newspaper. September 5, 2008.
  9. ^ a b c "A $400 million lesson". Press-Telegram. April 10, 2008.
  10. ^ Blume, Howard (August 10, 2008). "New name, new life for Belmont school". Los Angeles Times.
  11. ^ "Opening Set for Vista Hermosa Park". Los Angeles Downtown News. July 7, 2008.
  12. ^ Watanabe, Teresa (July 20, 1998). "New park a sight for sore eyes". Los Angeles Times.
  13. ^ "School starts today for LAUSD students". Daily Breeze. September 3, 2008.
  14. ^ a b c d William-Ross, Lindsay (October 18, 2008). "The Most Expensive High School in LA's History Finally Opens". LAist.
  15. ^ Vaillancourt, Ryan (September 8, 2008). "First Day, Few Jitters". Los Angeles Downtown News.
  16. ^ Tso, Phoenix (June 21, 2021). "LAUSD Forms A New Magnet School To Train Hollywood Hopefuls". LAist.
  17. ^ "Farewell DMHS Campus". Downtown Magnets. June 6, 2022.
  18. ^ Lee, Wendy (September 12, 2022). "Why George Clooney pushed for a new L.A. public school to train movie and TV crews". Los Angeles Times.

External links[edit]


  • Endres B (1999) An evaluation of the oil and gas migration hazards existing at the Belmont Learning Center Complex, Belmont Blue Ribbon Commission Hearings, October 1999

34°3′39″N 118°15′16″W / 34.06083°N 118.25444°W / 34.06083; -118.25444