The project design is driven by a strong commitment to do what’s best for the land and deliver substantial public benefits.
Fire Prevention & Protection
Our approach to the Scholars’ Campus is to design a project that brings significant value to the entire community. This includes a best-in-class fire safety program for the protection of not only the campus, but also our neighbors, fire service personnel, and the Santa Monica Mountains overall.
We built a team with leading fire prevention, protection and control experts, including former LA Fire Chief William Bamattre and the experts behind the fire-resistant attributes of the Getty Center.
The team is tasked with delivering a plan that incorporates lessons learned from recent fires and can serve as a regional model of fire protection and prevention strategies.
As part of this plan, the Institute is committed to allocating resources to remove any potential fuel sources, such as non-native and dead plants, within the 425 acres of protected open space that’s part of our property. We will also perform erosion control to help offset any potential mudslides. This is an essential service that helps protect this entire area from fire.
At the center of our architectural design is a concealed onsite water tank with a 60,000-gallon capacity to help firefighters more efficiently fight fires on our site and for our neighbors. We are literally building fire-fighting capacity into our design – there is nothing quite like this at any local institutions.
Following the 2019 Getty fire we partnered with community leaders, including the Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority and Scripps College, to facilitate access for 24-hour wild-fire cameras on our property to assist with early detection of wildfire.
Preserving the Natural Landscape
The project will preserve over 420 acres of open space in the Santa Monica Mountains, which allows for hillside preservation, restoration and protection of native habitat, public trails, and recreational opportunities. Our plan follows the natural topography of the land, thereby dramatically reducing grading and preserving the natural habitat within the open space.
We are open to working with local trail advocates and experts to explore improved or additional trail options to enhance the trail system while minimizing disturbance to the landscape as part of the environmental review process.
The Institute has pledged to preserve more than 90% of the property as protected open space and will comply with all existing open space and trail easements.
Watch Mia Lehrer of Studio MLA – one of the world’s most respected landscape architects and conservationists – describe her vision for this project.
Minimizing Traffic Impact on Mountaingate
A 28-estate style home subdivision was previously approved for development on this site and can still be built today. If built, daily traffic and a substantial portion of construction traffic will be through Mountaingate Drive and Stoney Hill.
In comparison, primary access to the Scholars’ Campus will be on Serpentine Road, which would be improved to LA Fire Department standards and other City requirements. Using Serpentine Road would lead visitors directly from Sepulveda Blvd, keeping Institute traffic away from the residential streets of Mountaingate. Gated emergency access would continue to be provided from Stoney Hill Road.
Serpentine Road provides an additional means of fire access and egress for residents of Mountaingate. This road will be an important public safety benefit to our neighbors.
The Institute will be a long-term neighbor and wants to positively contribute to the community as a whole.