There is a vacant lot at the corner of Sunset Avenue and Hammond Street, and some students at West Hollywood Elementary School have plenty of ideas for future development there.
During the inaugural Builder’s Expo last week in the school auditorium, the students presented models of their ideas. Among them were a dog park, doctor’s office, restaurant, house, ice-skating rink, zoo and a dance studio.
Fiona Dubin, 7, and Uma Bajaj, 6, opted for a restaurant called “Clones World”. They weren’t sure how they ended up with that name, but the eatery would serve sushi, pizza, Mexican food and Indian food.
“We wanted to build it because there’s not much restaurants in the U.S. and around Hollywood,” Fiona explained.
The two said they were excellent cooks, so they would be willing to work in the restaurant. They said it would be known for serving food from around the world, particularly their favorite, sushi.
Six-year-olds Kiera Ashcroft, Isabel Walker and Mayan Spencer all teamed up to construct a doctor’s office. Since they disagreed on what color the roof should be, it is half-black and half-white.
“A lot of people get sick,” Kiera said. “We thought it would be close to people.”
The presentations were a part of a four-month project conducted by first grade students with help from teacher Miriam Salgado. She said that in the months prior, the students had walked the community, taken photos, drawn maps, learned about construction and listened to a guest speaker from the West Hollywood Planning Commission.
“This is their big culmination,” Salgado added.
She said the students, who were from four classrooms, then made proposals that reflected their visions for the vacant lot. After the proposals were approved, they constructed models of their structures using recycled materials and began practicing their oral presentations.
“They’re just so excited to be able to share their work,” Salgado said. “They’re so proud of them.”
While the students were elated to show their projects to their parents, they were especially excited about showing them to West Hollywood Mayor John Duran, who walked the auditorium and listened to the students’ presentations. He didn’t know of any potential development at Sunset and Hammond, but was receptive to the students’ proposals.
“What a great idea,” Duran said. “I just love what they’ve done here. It’s really cool. I like to see how they view the community.”
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