NSBN Projects - Lawndale

"One thing that NSBN has done very effectively is open people's eyes and shown them a way different from the old parochial one.. NSBN expanded my thinking. It caused me to look at our assets differently and therefore meet the needs of a larger community, not just my student community or their parents, but the community at large. With NSBN's help, we reached out to the surrounding community and sponsored three charrettes. . . . I guess somewhere around 75 to 100 people participated, including officials from the City of Hawthorne. I think the community felt honestly and sincerely engaged and walked away with an understanding that their input had direct impact on the outcome of the project."

Dr. Joseph Condon
Superintendent, Lawndale School District

Lawndale Elementary School District (LESD), who owns Bodger Park , recognized a tremendous need for additional preschool space and identified an underutilized 2 acre space on the park as a potential site to house a new preschool. However, rather than immediately constructing a new facility, LESD through the leadership of Superintendent Dr. Joe Condon recognized an opportunity to construct a site that could potentially serve as more than a preschool and be a place where other services could be delivered.

NSBN was brought in as a 3 rd party facilitator to develop a site plan that would be developed collaboratively by stakeholders in the community and citizens who live near and around Bodger Park . As the 3 rd party facilitator, NSBN created conditions for collaboration, worked with LESD to identify potential partners, worked closely with each partner, negotiated obstacles among partners, engaged residents in the planning process, and underwrote a professional design team to staff the planning process.

At the very beginning of the planning process, NSBN worked with LESD to identify potential partners in the project. These partners included The Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Burke, Richstone Family Services, El Camino College, Little Company of Mary, SPA 8 Regional Council, and South Bay Center for Counseling. NSBN met with each potential partner and facilitated their involvement in the planning process. Collectively, these partners became the collaborative team that would be the backbone of the project.

For three months, the collaborative team met to discuss what were the services the community needs and if there were any governmental or non-governmental entities that could provide those services. At the end of that time period, the collaborative team had outlined a plan that included early childhood education, adult education, family counseling, and some health care as programs for the mixed-use project.

While the collaborative team had developed an accurate assessment of the needs of the community surrounding Bodger Park based on each stakeholders' direct work in that community, there was a need to confirm and also receive feedback from others outside the collaborative team to attain their feedback on the project plan outline.

NSBN facilitated a series of two workshops to take the work the Bodger Park Collaborative Team had put together and receive feedback from the community. The first workshop was geared towards other stakeholders who work in and around Bodger Park . These stakeholders included city officials, local school districts, county agencies, school PTAs, Bodger Park Neighborhood Association, and other nonprofit organizations. From this workshop, many of the needs identified by the collaborative team were confirmed, including the high need for early education and family counseling. However there were other identified needs that the collaborative team did not originally think about and they included more arts programs, a desired for a walking trail, a gymnasium, and a community center.

The results from that workshop were brought to a second workshop that was geared towards receiving the thoughts and ideas of families and citizens who live around Bodger Park , parents who send their children to the local elementary schools and families who use the park regularly. Like the first workshop, this workshop was designed to actively engage the participants by having them express the needs of the community and actually do some of the design planning with the guidance of the architect. The collaborative team learned that the needs they previously assessed for this project were also correct as measured by the results of this workshop. The collaborative team also learned that participants from this workshop also wanted a gymnasium and a branch library.

The series of workshops were effective in not only confirming the assessment of the collaborative team but also in attaining information on the program as well as the physical design of the project. This information is reflected in the draft of the master plan, including the delivery of early education, adult education, family counseling and health care services, preservation and restoration of the public garden, the long term implementation of a walking trail and a possible gymnasium. The physical design of the structure being a half circle also evolved from the workshops.

The master plan is a document that has its content derived from the input and knowledge of local leaders, community members who serve the Bodger Park area and people who send their children to LESD schools and use the park and the many services that it has to offer. Through this process, NSBN has demonstrated how collaboration through a third party facilitator can identify programs for joint-use and design new structures to house those programs.