Half-Billion High: America’s 5 Most Expensive Public Schools

Dana Chivvis

Contributor

AOL News Surge Desk

The Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools, the nation’s most expensive public school ever built, is set to open in Los Angeles next month, The Associated Press reports. The school is on the grounds of the former Ambassador Hotel, where Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968. Portions of the old hotel remain — the Cocoanut Grove nightclub has been transformed into an auditorium, the hotel diner has become a teacher’s lounge, and the ballroom where Kennedy was shot will be a library.
The school takes a place next to the country’s other so-called "Taj Mahal" schools, which all came at a cost of more than $100 million. (The real Taj Mahal, by comparison, cost an estimated 62 million Indian rupees to build at the time, which comes to about $687,286 American, not adjusted for inflation.) Below, Surge Desk takes a look at these costly centers of learning.
1. Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools, Los Angeles

  • Price: $578 million
  • Students: 4,200
  • Size: 452,000 square feet
  • Amenities: Fine art murals, marble memorial, swimming pool, 19,000-square-foot public park

In this Aug. 10, 2010 photo, the Robert F. Kennedy Learning Center is seen in Los Angeles

Damian Dovarganes, AP

The Robert F. Kennedy Learning Center in Los Angeles will reopen next month as the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools, the nation’s most expensive public school ever.

The Coconut Grove Auditorium at the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools location Friday, July 9, 2010 in Los Angeles, CA.

Los Angeles Daily News/ZUMA Press

The Coconut Grove Auditorium at the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools.

2. Edward R. Roybal Learning Center, Los Angeles

3. Central No. 9 Visual and Performing Arts High School, Los Angeles

  • Price: $232 million
  • Students: 1,700
  • Size: 238,000 square feet
  • Amenities: 950-seat performing arts center, three dance studios, 300-car garage, ceiling-mounted projectors in each classroom, outdoor atrium for Japanese raku pottery.

In this photo taken on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010, the Visual and Performing Arts High School is seen in Los Angeles.

Damian Dovarganes, AP

The striking entryway to the Visual and Performing Arts High School in Los Angeles.

4. Newtown North High School, Newtonville, Mass.

  • Price: $200 million
  • Students: 1,865
  • Size: 413,000 square feet
  • Amenities: Swimming pool, climbing wall, television studio

Newton North High School, 2008 bird's eye rendering.

City of Newton, Mass.

Newton North High School, shown in a 2008 sketch, has a climbing wall and a TV studio.

5. New Brunswick High School, New Brunswick, N.J.

  • Price: $185 million
  • Students: 1,300
  • Size: 400,000 square feet
  • Amenities: Rooftop solar panels, state-of-the-art lighting for four athletic fields, Internet-connected "Smart boards" instead of blackboards.

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