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Major Expansion Plans for the Center for Inquiry-West

by Paul Kurtz


The following article is from the Secular Humanist Bulletin, Volume 17, Number 1.


We are pleased to announce that the Center for Inquiry (CFI) West has purchased a fine building in Los Angeles at 4773 Hollywood Boulevard. The Center is co-sponsored by the Council for Secular Humanism (CSH) and the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). This building is two miles from Hollywood and Vine. On one side the famous Griffith Observatory can be seen on a hill overlooking our site, and on the other side is another hill containing Barnsdall Park, the site of house built by Frank Lloyd Wright plus a large meeting hall. It provides a splendid vista of Los Angeles and has lovely gardens and grounds. CFI West is two blocks from a subway station and a short distance by direct bus line from the University of California at Los Angeles campus.

The building is 9,000 square feet on two floors. We have great plans to completely renovate the Center. There will be a large meeting room for 200-250 people, a library, café, and bookstore on the first floor, and seminar rooms and offices on the second. The property has space for 70 cars in an enclosed parking lot, with additional parking nearby. There is also space for possible future expansion-of perhaps 6,000 square feet. All in all, a great find!

The cost of the building is $1.6 million, which the Center raised with a bank loan. This needs to be paid off. The estimated renovation costs will run approximately $500,000. We wish to redo this space so that it is a signature building. In addition to functioning as our West Coast regional rallying point, the L.A. Center will also house our new national media center. This will create programming for television and radio and serve as a resource for rapid media response. From this center, we expect to develop a prestigious board to rate the scientific accuracy of movies and television shows.

It is only appropriate that we base this media center in Hollywood, California, the center of movie and media production. Conversion into such a media center and a three-year operating budget will cost another $450,000. Thus the approximate total cost of the project will be $2.5 million. Additional funds will be required for endowment to offset long-term operating costs. A major fund-drive effort-intended to raise $4.135 million dollars-will be announced shortly under the direction of Kimberly Development Services.

This major acquisition culminated a three-year search. Property values have been escalating in Los Angeles, but we were able to acquire this building because of a dip in the real-estate market. Some sections of Hollywood have declined in recent years; there are, however, strong signs that the area where our Center is located is on the upswing.

CFI-West has sponsored many programs for the area's readers of Free Inquiry, the Skeptical Inquirer, and our other publications. In total, friends, readers, and supporters of the Center now number 7,000 in the greater Los Angeles area. The new building will house CSH, CSICOP, and the Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS), Atheists United and several West Coast organizations will use its facilities. The staff includes Jim Underdown, executive director; Jim Christopher, head of SOS; Terry Rozelle; James Kimberly; Vaughn Rees; and Armen Saginian, head of New Horizons..

We are very enthusiastic about this new project, which will advance the cause of secular humanism and skepticism enormously on the West Coast. 


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