Project 1: LeConte M.S.

Students at Le Conte Middle School Skatepark
Students at Le Conte Middle School Skatepark

Timing was on Greg’s side as he and Saul Chorro, explored the idea of constructing a mobile skate park and after school program. Saul Chorro, who actually attended LeConte in the mid 90’s, provided instant support for the cause and confirmed that “our youth needed better choices”.

Permission to start the club was surprisingly simple at first. They approached Beyond the Bell, Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) extended learning and enrichment programs division, who were very supportive of an extra-curricular skate program. Greg was beside himself with excitement when he learned that the school’s principal, Ms. Zardeneta,  gave her full support to the out-of-the-box program to reach at-risk students.

The program became an instant hit and created an immediate infectious skate culture.The team at Le Conte confronted its first hurdle when they were told that they could not get insurance to cover their mobile skate park. Insurance became the everything.

Instead of giving up, Greg decided to push forward and accept the challenge of building permanent skate parks on school property. Greg and Saul set out to raise awareness and funds, secure an insurance provider to build a permanent skate park, and coordinate communication and efforts of all stakeholders. They spoke with local after school programs and inquired about their policies and then decided to seek active inner city after-school program insurers who they believed might have an interest in skateboarding

Woodcraft Rangers was up to the challenge. They saw the potential at Le Conte, and wanted to be a part of building the first permanent skate park for LAUSD. Bringing all stakeholders to the table with the same goals and expectations requires a lot of patience, but through time and dedicated efforts, the Le Conte team got it done. The School Board had reservations at first, but realized that the time is now and these student’s needs must be met.

Spohn Ranch Skateparks
Spohn Ranch was proud to be the design/build partner for the Los Angeles Unified School District’s first designated skatepark.

As the project gained momentum, Greg knew he had to expand the team beyond he and Saul. That is where Lance Bowling came into the picture.  First, Lance was coaching and providing research and documentation to gain the city government’s support. In addition, he was huge behind the scenes for Le Conte’s first fundraiser, Skate-a-Palooza. Lance pulled resources for copy and letters and guided the production and the dream.

The main issue for the Board was how the park would be secured during off hours and non skating days. How would the park be bulletproof on Saturday and Sunday to keep the public out?  Safety, security, and liability were the main issues. Once it was agreed upon how to handle this issue, everyone came together to support the first ever permanent skate park on school property.

The school district, insurance provider, financial sponsors, local city government, and school staff all expressed a vested interest in the project. In fact, they rewrote the policy to insure the success of permanent skate parks within LAUSD.

2 thoughts on “Project 1: LeConte M.S.

    1. First thing to do is to have someone who is passionate about skating, second is see the need that your community has and third never give up and keep on pushing forward. But in all reality get in contact with your local government and make awareness with parents and the community around your neighborhood. Get together and create a force in unity to make a difference. Remember, it only takes one person to start a movement, you’ve done the first step in asking about it. Good luck and keep us posted.

      Liked by 1 person

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