Pasadena’s Hearing Officer will conduct a public hearing on Thursday, February 20, about plans by EF (Education First,) the Sweden-based international education company that has recently purchased the former William Carey International University property that it plans to convert into an international boarding high school for students in the 9th to 12th grade.
The campus, in the north-central area of Pasadena, will be known as EF Academy International Boarding Schools Pasadena.
The City’s Department of Planning and Community Development said the Hearing Officer will look at details of the application for conditional use permits by EF to establish a private school on the property, located at 1550 Elizabeth Street/1539 East Howard, between Elizabeth and East Howard Street, with Wesley Avenue to the west, consists of 16.23 acres and a separate 1.42-acre recreation field north of the main campus on N. Oxford Avenue.
EF has also filed an application to allow the construction of two student dormitories, which would mean demolishing the existing 69,000 square-foot Aylward Dormitory and administration building on the western edge of the campus, and building a 112,000 square-foot dormitory with 230 units, administrative offices and student health services in its place.
The new structure will house 500 students in triple-occupancy rooms, with shared bathrooms, community spaces, and laundry rooms. The building will also have storage, housekeeping and building support space, according to the report.
The existing Aylward Dormitory was constructed in 1945 with major additions in 1958 and 1970, and various interior and exterior renovations over the years.
For Thursday’s deliberation, the Planning Department said EF is also seeking clearance for the construction of a sports court including field lighting for the recreation field north of the main campus, which is within 300 feet of a residential zoning district, to increase the fence height for the perimeter fencing around the campus, and to remove 39 private trees from the construction site.
Eleven buildings, with a total area of 277,164 square feet, currently stand on the campus; three of the structures, including Aylward Dormitory, would be demolished, according to plans submitted in September 2018.
The rest of the existing buildings will be rehabilitated and retained, including McGavran Hall, which according to City staff appears eligible for listing as a Pasadena Historic Landmark.
Since students at the new international boarding school will not be allowed to drive, a 300-car parking space on the southwestern edge of the property will be converted to more green space, according to the plans.
In April last year, EF held an open-house information session with residents of the neighborhood and announced plans about the former William Carey University campus. They said most of the high school students to be served in Pasadena will be international students, although some local students can be accommodated.
At an EF Academy campus in New York, about 10 percent are local students and the rest come from as many as 12 different countries.
The Planning Department said EF intends to begin demolition and construction work in the spring and may be able to open the school for students in August 2020. Existing users on the campus, including colleges, private schools, churches and nonprofit organizations are in the process of vacating the campus.
Thursday’s hearing will begin at about 6 p.m. at the Permit Center Hearing Room at 175 N. Garfield Avenue 1st floor.