Lincoln High School Comprehensive Modernization Project | Los Angeles Conservancy
Ethel Percy Andrus Theatre at Lincoln High School, 2018.

Lincoln High School Comprehensive Modernization Project

In 2019, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) held its first public meeting regarding its comprehensive modernization project at the National Register-eligible Lincoln High School. As part of its district-wide Facilities Bond Program, LAUSD proposed an investment of $233M to address critical safety concerns and support the educational program at the historic campus. The project's scope included demolition of some classroom buildings, construction of a new classroom building and a Performing Arts Building, and seismic retrofit and modernization of the Adminstration Building, Home Economics Building, Auditorium, Gymnasium, and pedestrian bridge.  

The Conservancy was a member of the Project Advisory Group for the Lincoln High School Comprehensive Modernization Project and provided input regarding the project's impacts to the historic campus, which included concern over the potential loss of character-definining interior spaces in the buildings slated for seismic retrofit and modernization. An Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration for the Lincoln High School Comprehensive Modernization Project was available for public review and comment in November 2020. 

The LAUSD Board of Education approved the Lincoln High School Comprehensive Modernization Project on January 12, 2021. 





Established in 1913, Lincoln High is one of the oldest high schools in the district. Following the 1933 Long Beach earthquake, the school was reconstructed in 1937 by A.C. Martin in the PWA Moderne style. Among Lincoln High’s notable faculty and students are: Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, the first female principal of a high school in California; teacher Sal Castro, instrumental leader of the Chicano Student Walkouts of 1968; and alumnus Kenny Washington, pioneer in professional football as the first African-American to sign a contract in the modern-day N.F.L. with the Los Angeles Rams.

LAUSD has conducted a historic resources assessment of Lincoln High School that has identified three historic periods of significance with corresponding districts. The three periods are: (1) the early period, which includes earliest school buildings and other elements like the stairs on the hill portion of the campus. This period also includes structures associated with Principal Percy Andrus; (2) 1968 Chicano Student Walkouts; (3) PWA architecture/A.C. Martin. Seismic retrofit and modernization of three historically significant school buildings are proposed, including the Administration Building, Home Economics Building, and Auditorium. The historic gymnasium building will receive seismic retrofit and upgrades to finishes, systems, and programmatic access.

At a public meeting on April 10, 2019, LAUSD acknowledged that more improvements were needed to bring the athletic facilities up to par with other campuses. In the future as funding resources become available, LAUSD proposed to demolish the historic gym to allow room to expand the track/football field and to add a new restroom and concession building, and new home/guest bleachers. They intend to leave room on the main campus for future development of a new gymnasium. 

Update: On January 12, 2021, the LAUSD Board of Education approved the Lincoln High School Comprehensive Modernization Project. The project is set to be completed in 2028.

The Conservancy is encouraged by LAUSD's preservation-minded approach to modernization at Lincoln High School and will track the process and progress made through the project's final approval.