The $150-million renovation project gearing up at Beverly Hills High School will create walkways and plazas, renovate original 1928 and 1960s buildings, and create a new athletic building, but it probably won't include the Tower of Hope, the oil derrick covered with colorful fabric panels that sits at the edge of the school's property on Olympic and has become a local landmark since it was created in the early aughts. A rep for design group DLR tells the Architect's Newspaper that the area around the derrick's current location is set to become a new softball field, but no one would officially confirm or deny that the derrick is getting the boot.
The BH Unified School Board declined to comment, calling the whole matter of the oil derrick a "politically charged" issue. The well is currently pumping oil for a company called Venoco and sending some of the profits to the school, but their lease expires in 2016; that's also the date BH voted to stop extracting oil within city limits.
The Tower of Hope's flowery exterior was conceived of by West LA artist/writer Ed Massey; the panels were decorated by sick children in hospitals. While some see the piece as a welcome change from a naked oil well, others are not so positive: students of BH High once wrote in their school newspaper that the recognizable structure should be called "Tower of Hope You Don't Get Cancer."