See How LAUSD's Massive Building Program Transformed L.A. Neighborhoods


An ambitious construction program by L.A.'s Unified School District has dramatically altered the look of several of the city's neighborhoods in recent years.

Begining in 1997, LAUSD launched a massive $19.2 billion program to renovate existing school campuses and construct new ones. Known as We Build, the undertaking modernized and built over 500 new structures across L.A. county, and is thought to be one of the biggest school construction programs in the country.

And while the We Build program has clearly brought new and much-needed facilities to an ever-expanding student population, it's important to keep in mind the impact the construction has had the surrounding communities and those displaced by it. Over the years, LAUSD's use of eminent domain to build campuses have forced many residents to relocate in areas like Echo Park, Sylmar and Maywood.

Unless you've been keeping a close watch on the district's construction—or regularly fly a helicopter across the county—it may be difficult to get a clear picture of how LAUSD's program has altered the landscape of L.A. To help us get our head around it all, apartment search website RENTCafé has created six handy before-and-after aerial views of how the construction of eight schools impacted certain neighborhoods from 2005 to 2015.

From North Hollywood's East Valley Senior High to San Pedro Senior High—and points in between—the images reveal dramatic changes to each neighborhood. Just by clicking on the bars in the images, you can slide back and forth to see the difference.

Augustus F. Hawkins High School in the Vermont neighborhood of South L.A.

The Augustus F. Hawkins High School opened in 2012 at 825 W 60th St., taking the place of single family homes and commercial buildings, including a liquor store and an auto body shop. The new 351,070 square foot school serves over 2,000 students and includes 3 learning communities and a sports field.

East Valley Senior High in North Hollywood

Built to help with overcrowding at nearby Francis Polytechnic, Grant and North Hollywood high schools, East Valley Senior High opened in 2006 and expanded its athletic facilities in 2010. The school sits on 11.8 acres and serves 1,300 students in 65 classrooms. To build the school, a portion of Cumpston Street was completely excavated.

Dr. Maya Angelou Community High in South Park

Completed in 2011, the 211,000 square foot complex of Dr. Maya Angelou Community High sits on roughly 10.5 acres. The school serves over 2,000 students and includes six buildings and a parking structure with rooftop play court.

San Pedro Senior High

Finished in 2012, the San Pedro High School annex extended the campus by 128,000 square feet and took on 800 additional students. The campus was built on land owned by LAUSD within Fort MacArthur and controversially tore down historic military buildings that housed an adult education program.

Edward R. Roybal Learning Center and Miguel Contreras Learning Complex in West Lake, and Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts in Downtown

The Edward R. Roybal Learning Center opened in 2008 after a lengthy construction process and helped with overcrowded at Belmont High school with 104 new classrooms. Miguel Contreras Learning Complex, which includes 7 buildings on 19 acres, opened in 2006 to alleviate overcrowding as well. The school houses 2,500 students and includes athletic fields and a public stadium. The 12-acre Ramon C. Cortines School—which you'll know by the spiraling stainless-steel structure that looms over the 101—was built in 2009 and serves over 1,700 students.

Watts Learning Center Charter Middle School in Green Meadows

When the Watts Learning Center Charter Middle School first began it was housed in old church buildings and temporary trailers. Now the school shares a spacious 16-acre campus with Mervyn M. Dymally High School, which opened in 2012 and includes multiple athletic fields.