By LUCY GUANUNA
LOS FELIZ — Painters will be busy this summer at Thomas Starr King Middle School as the entire school will be painted over in a bold blue palette.
The color was chosen to complement nearby buildings and John Marshall High School, which is currently undergoing a $2 million renovation, said Renae Plant, treasurer of Friends of King, a school support group. After previously agreeing to help fund the painting of only the front wall of the school, L.A. Unified agreed to provide more than $300,000 to paint the entire school after five months of negotiations with the school administration and Friends of King. About $30,000 of the project’s funding was raised by Friends of King and more than $70,000 will be provided by the school.
“We wanted to transform [King] from looking like a prison to a paradise,” Plant said. “We’ve gotten a lot of support from the community, it’s all really exciting.”
L.A. Unified has also agreed to provide funding for the renovation of King’s library, which is slated to coincide with the painting of the school. The renovation will include new floors, the re-staining of bookshelves and electrical upgrades. The details of the renovation remain to be worked out, but Friends of King already has $26,000 earmarked for the renovation and plans to use parent volunteers to help with the project, Plant said.
The projects are part of a larger beautification process that began after the transition of King to a full magnet school. The projects include 184 mural panels that will cover the school’s chain link fence along Bates Avenue, Sunset Drive and Manzanita Street. Shepard Fairey, Kim West and Isaac Rubentstein are some of the artists confirmed to create some of the mural panels.
Lucy Guanuna has reported on a variety of issues, including business, education and social justice movements in her native Los Angeles. Her work has been published in the Daily Sundial, L.A. Activist, and the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.