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FAA grants extension to Adult School

April 03, 2001

Karen S. Kim

NORTHWEST DISTRICT -- As the FAA taketh away, it also giveth.

The Federal Aviation Administration threatened last November to

rescind a soundproofing grant awarded to Burbank Adult School, but the

agency has agreed to give the school district a little more time on the

project.

In a letter to the Airport Authority in November, FAA officials gave

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the school district a deadline of Sept. 30 to have the soundproofing

completed, stating that "grants that have not experienced significant

progress ... in 18 months indicate that the project may not have been

needed."

Recently, FAA officials verbally agreed to preserve its grant offer to

the school district as long as a "notice to proceed" order for

construction is completed by the deadline.

Airport officials said the FAA made a $1.9-million grant offer to

Burbank Adult School -- then Mingay Adult School -- in 1994, but no

construction has been done.

In contrast, the soundproofing at Luther Burbank Middle School, which

received a grant offer from the FAA in August 1989, took only four years

to complete.

Airport and school officials contend the delay in construction was

because district officials didn't sign the grant offer until January

1999. The offer signed in 1999 also included an additional grant of $1.3

million.

"There was a fairly protracted period of back and forth between the

authority and the school district where the district decided it no longer

wanted to accept the 'avigation easement,"' Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena

Airport Authority Spokesman Victor Gill said.

The easement, which district officials signed during the soundproofing

of Luther Burbank five years earlier, bars the school district from suing

the airport over noise issues once soundproofing is complete.

"The concept was the same, but since time had passed since [Luther

Burbank], we wanted to have new language included in the easement," said

Ali Kiafer, Burbank Unified School District chief facilities and

development superintendent.

The two parties signed a modified easement in 1999 barring the school

district from suing the airport but promising future noise issues would

be addressed by the authority.

Design plans are awaiting approval from the state's architectural

agency. Kiafer said he expects approval by May. Then the school district

will look for a developer and receive a notice to proceed with

construction by the end of September. The construction project should

take 18 months, Kiafer said.

FAA officials changed their minds about pulling the grant when they

recognized all the progress the school district had been making on the

project, Kiafer said.

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