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CCSF weighs partnership with school district, SFSU for proposed education center in the Bayview

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City College of San Francisco, along with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, are looking to build a new academic and skill-building center in the Bayview. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

City College of San Francisco is exploring a partnership with the San Francisco Unified School District and San Francisco State University in a bid to build a new 45,000-square-foot educational facility in the Bayview District.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is seeking a partner to build an “academic and skill-building center” next to a proposed 40,000-square-foot Southeast Community Facility at 1550 Evans Ave., where a currently vacant building will be razed. The project also includes a 5,000-square-foot pavilion, an educational center and more than 100,000 square feet of public open space.

The proposed community center will replace an existing facility at 1800 Oakdale Ave. That center and its adjacent greenhouses were constructed with community partners to compensate for the environmental and social impacts following the expansion of the Southeast Treatment Plant in the 1970s and ’80s, according to the PUC website.

Earlier this month, City College, in a partnership that is poised to include the SFUSD and SFSU, submitted initial paperwork expressing interest in the creation of the educational facility.

The college’s Board of Trustees is expected to vote Thursday on whether or not to move forward with investigating the feasibility of “financing, constructing, owning, and operating an educational facility” at the site.

While the new SECF is expected to open in 2021, construction could begin as soon as 2019. Last month, CCSF Chancellor Mark Rocha told the CCSF board the proposal was “an opportunity for us to put a placeholder in,” referring to the college’s expansion in the neighborhood.

But several trustees expressed concerns last month about the cost of constructing the new academic facility.

“My concern in looking at the material from the PUC is [that] they are asking for someone to own and operate this building, which I assume means ‘pay for,’” Trustee John Rizzo said at the February meeting. He added that while the college currently has some $45 million in bond funding set aside for the construction of a proposed Performing Arts and Education Center on it’s main campus, renovations are also needed at many of its 11 campuses.

“I am concerned that we are in this process with the PUC and committing to spending dollars we haven’t even talked about,” he said.

Both Rizzo and Trustee Rafael Mandelman pointed out that the construction of the SECF at 1800 Oakdale Ave. came in response to the sewer plant expansion, which drew criticism from residents of the neighborhood. They suggested that the PUC should foot the bill for the new community center at 1550 Evans Ave., which will be replacing it.

“In trade for sticking that plant in the middle of the community decades ago, they were supposed to give the community these facilities. That’s why they have the Oakdale building,” said Rizzo, adding that the college “did not pay for that [building].”

“Probably this board would want to argue this is something the PUC owes to the Bayview,” said Mandelman at a Feb. 22 board meeting.

City College currently runs classes out of the 1800 Oakdale Ave. center and runs a campus at 1400 Evans Ave., and the latter is “in dire need of upgrading its old facility,” according to Rizzo, who on Tuesday told the San Francisco Examiner he would like to see any new construction happen there first.

“Someone has to tell me why we should put money into [constructing] a building on land we don’t own instead of building a new building on land we do own,” he said.

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