Malibu High School Plans Include New Parking Lot

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District officials quietly added a small new parking lot to plans to rebuild Malibu High School, according to the project’s environmental impact report published Aug. 18.

The 14-space parking lot would be on the Clover Heights Avenue cul-de-sac at the north end of the school by the athletics fields.

Some people who live near MHS are not happy, as evidenced by posts on neighborhood social media websites.

During decades of community meetings and back-and-forth with the district, the concept of a new parking lot at the north end of Malibu High had been brought up and rejected.

The circulation plan approved by Malibu City Council when a new parking lot was approved for the east side of the high school did not include any parking at the north end.

SMMUSD Chief Operations Officer Carey Upton told KBUU News the parking lot “was added to fix a problem with illegal parking at the cul-de-sac for athletic groups.” According to Upton, the district fielded complaints about parking on the neighborhood street.

“The small parking lot was primarily added in response to years of complaints from the neighbors, city staff and the fire department about AYSO, Little League and MHS Athletics parents blocking the cul-de-sac,” Upton said. 

But some neighbors are not happy for two reasons: the change in plans was not discussed with surrounding neighbors and they did not want the narrow, dead-end street, which connects off a network of narrow twisting streets, used as access for the school campus and athletic fields. 

Now, it’s part of an EIR for the entire $195 million high school project.

Although a third of the campus has already been torn down and is being rebuilt, the other two thirds needs to be reconstructed—147,556 square feet of demolition, according to the EIR.

School backers say a modern school campus is essential if MHS is going to be an attractive choice for students and parents who have several options for where to send their kids. The district proposes to tear down the old Juan Cabrillo Elementary School and build a new high school on the site, having relocated Juan Cabrillo students to Malibu Elementary, located at the former Point Dume Marine Science School campus.

Parts of the new middle and high school campus would include a new performing arts center and a new gym as well as a classroom structure that would exceed the city’s 28-foot-high building height limit.

The new gym would have to be 45 feet high to accommodate indoor volleyball and basketball games, much like the existing gym. But it would be sited down the hill from other buildings, so it would not appear to be that tall.

The entire high school and middle school complex would have 47 classrooms, which is smaller than the existing campus layout, plus 12 labs.

The district has scheduled a Zoom meeting to hear input on the changes on Sept. 9 at 6:30 p.m.

The proposed parking lot, together with the rest of the project, is out for review until 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 21. Then the plans then have to be approved by the SMMUSD Board of Education and the Malibu Planning Commission and City Council.

Plans can be viewed by visiting


A version of this story appeared on KBUU News.

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