JFAK Tapped to Design the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Academy’s Permanent Home in South Gate
JFAK has been selected to transform a property in the City of South Gate into the future home of the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Academy. Founded last year by Los Angeles native and LA Lakers basketball star Russell Westbrook, the Why Not? Academy, currently housed at two separate leased facilities, is dedicated to improving access to educational and outdoor opportunities for the youth and greater community of South Los Angeles. The South Gate site is currently occupied by a 50,000 SF warehouse-turned-classroom-building used by East Los Angeles College (ELAC), a Carl’s Jr. restaurant, and parking.
Owned and operated by LA Promise Fund (LAPF) and supported by the Russell Westbrook Foundation, the Academy comprises both a middle school and high school. From its new home in South Gate, the Academy will expand on the educational, career support, and outdoor community opportunities it offers to local students. JFAK has commenced master planning the site and will design facilities to host a variety of new programs including a community recreation center and gym, classrooms, daycare, parking, and food service. Also being integrated are outdoor education, recreation, and dining functions.
The existing Carl’s Jr. is expected to be transformed and usable by the summer of this year. The 50,000 SF warehouse, renovated to contain 37 classrooms, will open to middle and high school students in Fall 2024. Working collaboratively with LAPF, Russell Westbrook Why Not? Academy, and Owner’s Representative and Project Manager Primestor Development, JFAK will assist in realizing the remaining master plan components beyond that date.