City College San Francisco The Guardsman
Journalism DepartmentIndicator
Volume 134, Issue 6

Mission Campus: College Looking At Alternative Plans
Administration seeks to purchase lot on Valencia St. after talks with preservationists fail

Mission campus

City College is seeking to purchase the Valencia Street lot between 22nd and 23rd from San Francisco Unified School District along with the current Mission campus space as an alternative to the proposed New Mission Theater location.
With the negotiations between City College and preservationists suspended, the administration is turning to a new plan for the Mission campus.

Although City College had agreed to keep the New Mission Theater intact after it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in August 2001, preservationists made demands that the building should function as a working theater.

This proposal had been rejected earlier by City College because of the added cost impact, an estimated additional $30,000 over and above the $150,000 already committed for restoration of the theater.

Unwilling to meet this new demand, Chancellor Philip R. Day made the decision to seek an alternative location for the proposed Mission campus.

The administration is currently looking at three options. The first scenario has City College purchasing both the Valencia Street lot between 22nd and 23rd that is owned by the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) and the entire Downtown High School facility, including the current space leased by the College.

City College is seeking closure on the price and plans to move expeditiously in closing the deal with SFUSD, according to Day.

The current proposed property on Mission, including the Giant Value store and New Mission Theater would be sold. City College would then focus all resources on the development of a new interconnected campus facility on the current location of Bartlett and the lot on Valencia.

This option would provide a larger campus facility with room for future growth and could be achieved within the available budget.

Although this was an earlier consideration when the college began exploring options for a new Mission campus, the lot on Valencia was not available.

With SFUSD's declining enrollment, the district is seeking to raise funds to accommodate projects that did not get funded in 1997. They are now interested in selling this property to City College and the administration has entered into formal discussions with the district.

"We would be working with the school district to make sure we don't dump their kids out on the street," said Day.

A back-up plan exists which would utilize the Giant Store on Mission to house the Learning Resource Center, Day Care, Student and Academic Support Services, Food Services, Bookstore, and meeting rooms. This two-site plan would include a new building at the lot on Valencia Street, adjacent to the current campus location, to accommodate classrooms and parking. The New Mission Theater would be sold.

The third option is to stick with the proposed renovation of the New Mission Theater and forgo preservationist's demands for a working theater. This would almost certainly result in litigation and delay which would jeopardize state funding.

"The third alternative is that we just say Œsorry guys, we're gonna go forward'," said Day. "The problem with that is we know that they'll drop a lawsuit on us and that will tie us up for a couple of more years," said Day.