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LOS ANGELES-The Board of Education here has voted to buy a $74.5-million Downtown high-rise to serve as the school district’s new headquarters, clearing the way to consolidate its office workers currently spread over six different locations.

The 928,000-sf, 29-story office tower stands at 333 S. Beaudry Ave. It is owned by Beaudry I Investors Corp., a private group based in Connecticut, and is leased by Bank of America.

As part of its plans, the Board of Education will tear down its current headquarters at 450 N. Grand Ave. and build a sorely needed high school on the site by 2005. In a related move, a board spokesman said last night that the district will build a second high school at its nearby Third Street Annex parcel.

The vote was taken in a closed-door session, in part to protect the confidentiality of the negotiations between the board and the building owner. David Tokofsky, who has often criticized both the school board and the LA Unified School District for their spending, was the only board member to vote against the purchase.

“The size of the building is just huge,” Tokofsky complained, noting that the high-rise is about three times larger than the school district’s own staff had previously said it needs. “This will give the bureaucracy plenty of room to grow.”

Indeed, others have said it would be cheaper for the school district to rent new headquarters space than buy it because leasing rates Downtown are still soft. However, a study commissioned by the district determined that it would save $61 million over 30 years by purchasing the building instead.

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