You may have heard the saying that one percent of the people make things happen, 10 percent pay attention to what’s happening, and the rest just ask, “What happened?” However, don’t feel bad if you weren’t aware that the San Diego Unified School District recently voted to consider swapping its Education Center at Park Boulevard and Normal Street for a new ready-to-occupy headquarters and auditorium somewhere near a freeway. Even the 10 percent who pay attention were caught by surprise.
The school district took advantage of a California Education Code provision that lets them trade one property for another without first offering it to other schools or agencies (or for other public purposes such as parks or libraries) and without public notice or input. Developers have until March 15 to respond to the district’s Request for Proposal (RFP-SV-18-0709-08-0-2018/NE), issued on December 14, 2017, “to exchange the following District owned real property: Eugene Brucker Education Center, Fremont/Ballard Center, Instructional Media Center, to secure a suitable property to become the new District Central Office.”
Whoever the developer is, they may need to request a zoning amendment and changes to the Uptown Community Plan. The Land Use element of that plan requires consideration of the use of the Education Center property for medium-high residential and mixed-use development, but also for “public space, and/or the rehabilitation and reuse of buildings such as the Teachers’ Training Annex” (LU-2.17). The Public Facilities element calls for support for relocation of the UH Branch Library to the Teachers’ Training Annex “should the property become available,” and the Recreational element requires exploring the possibility of “providing a public park” within the redevelopment of the property.
Board Trustee Richard Barrera has requested the community’s partnership, so you can count on UHCA to provide a forum for residents to voice their concerns and preferences to city officials and potential developers. Stay tuned and stay informed.