Campus plans arise amid lawsuit talks

Updated designs for City College of San Francisco’s controversial new $122 million Chinatown-North Beach campus will be unveiled today, as attorneys continue to look for ways to settle a lawsuit filed against the community college by neighbors of the proposed site.

Spending for the campus’ design team with EHDD/Barcelon and Jang has more than doubled, jumping to $13.5 million from $5.9 million, following a CCSF board vote March 18. The group will unveil updated designs for the 14-story campus at Washington and Kearny streets at a public workshop today, according to Peter Goldstein, vice chancellor for finance and administration.

Meanwhile, attorneys met March 7 to discuss settling a lawsuit filed last November by the Montgomery-Washington Homeowners Association. Neighbors presented a dozen elements they required in order to settle, according to their attorney, Rollin Chippey, who would not disclose the criteria for legal reasons.

“We went into this with the hope that we might be able to achieve some agreement that would eliminate the need to litigate,” Chippey said. “We’re waiting to see what the college comes back with.”

CCSF has offered classes in Chinatown and North Beach since the 1970s, housing more than 6,000 students in a series of scattered, leased buildings, but the college has never had a permanent home in The City’s northeast sector.

The current facility, a former San Francisco Unified School District building at 940 Filbert St., is “deteriorating quickly,” according to a CCSF fact sheet.

Students at the Chinatown-North Beach campus pursue everything from English-language skills and citizenship to a variety of job-oriented studies. College trustees adopted construction plans and an environmental impact report in the fall, prompting the Montgomery-Washington neighbors to file a lawsuit challenging the plans under the California Environmental Quality Act, said Alan Sparer, attorney for the college.

“This project will impose the disruptive, high-rise development of the Financial District on three of north San Francisco’s most important small business and residential neighborhoods,” according to the lawsuit.

Construction funds would come from three voter-approved bond measures and from $48 million in state funds, according to Goldstein. But the contentiousness of the project forced design-team costs higher, he said.

“They have spent an enormous number of hours analyzing and creating a number of potential different designs,” primarily in response to input from the public, Goldstein said.

The design workshop will take place today at 5:30 p.m. at CCSF’s Adult Learning and Tutorial Center, 33 Gough St.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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