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City College of San Francisco’s Facilities Master Plan to be Finished by February 2019

City College of San Francisco Chancellor Mark Rocha at the May 3 Board of Trustees Study Session meeting. Photograph by David Horowitz/Ingleside-Excelsior Light

City College of San Francisco’s interim Vice Chancellor of Facilities Dr. Rueben Smith presented a timeline at a committee meeting on June 25 for a new Facilities Master Plan, a document used to guide the college’s growth that is required by law to be updated every 10 years.

The college’s 2004 FMP expired in 2014. Rueben’s timeline estimated that a new one will be completed in February 2019.

The FMP has been delayed by the accreditation crisis, faculty and community demands for the Performing Arts Education Center and early drafts calling for most Ocean Campus structures to be razed or repurposed.

In a May 3 study session, Smith and planning firm tBP Architecture presented information to the college Board of Trustees about part one of the FMP — restructuring Ocean Campus.

“Most importantly, tonight is about the Ocean Campus we want to have by the year 2025,” Chancellor Mark Rocha said.

The makeover would cost somewhere in the realm of $1.36 billion, according to a conceptual study. The most conventional way to fund it would be through a facilities bond, according to Rocha.

Three plans were proposed, each of which would have demolished the Cloud Hall, one of the campus’s largest and most aged buildings. But because they each lacked constituent support, there is currently only one scenario remaining for Ocean Campus.

The new scenario, which is still open for discussion, calls for renovating Cloud Hall, Science Hall, Batmale Hall and the Visual Arts Building. New student development buildings would replace Smith Hall, Conlan Hall, the Cafeteria, Bookstore, Statler Wing, the current Student Union and the Bookstore Annex.

A Science Technology Engineering Mathematics center would be built on the site of the Creative Arts building, Arts Extension building and the Diego Rivera Theater. A new Child Development Center would be built at the unused northern bungalows.

The Performing Arts Education Center would be built across the street in the parking lot north of the Multi-Use Building. Student housing and a 500-car parking garage would be built above ground-level west of the MUB.

“From my experience, once you start construction of this kind of scale, your enrollment goes down because you just start to have impacts on your campus environment that make it difficult on students and teachers,” Rocha said at the May session. “As I understand from [Smith’s] team, Cloud Hall would have to close for over two years whether you renovate it or tear it down and start over.”

Music department Chair Madeline Mueller, who taught classes while Batmale Hall was being built, expressed concern over potential construction noise levels.

“You could hardly be heard when you were lecturing,” Mueller said. “You could not concentrate. The buildings that exist are not built for that kind of noise factor — the disruption, the traffic. What I remember most of all was that jackhammering that went on for months and months.”

Another concern was that construction for the FMP should not precede the construction of PAEC, which was set to break ground in June 2013.

“I think thousands of dollars are being wasted by the chancellor to have other projects and not build PAEC,” labor journalist Steve Zeltzer said. “That’s against the will of voters in San Francisco and frankly there should be no more bonds issued until we have PAEC built.”

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This article first appeared in the Ingleside-Excelsior Light’s July/August print edition.

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