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New charter school, City College buildings to open this fall

A rendering shows the new 62,000-square-foot Business Technology building at San Diego City College. It will house new space for the business department along with seven computer labs and areas for startup businesses. Image courtesy of San Diego City College

There has been a mixture of construction activity in and around downtown San Diego this summer with new high-tech classroom buildings and facilities at San Diego City College and a new charter middle school in Grant Hill scheduled to open for the fall semester.

Construction is wrapping up on the $94.6 million new Arts & Humanities/Business Technology Complex at City College.

The new Arts & Humanities Building will consist of 128,378 square feet of space for the arts and humanities department and will include classes in visual arts, English, English for non-native speakers, speech and foreign language, honors, world cultures and city works programs.

The building will include new classrooms, a lecture hall, computer labs, and studio space for drawing, ceramics, sculpture and graphics. There will be a 100-seat black-box theater with drama classrooms and related offices and space for faculty and support staff.

The exterior of the Arts & Humanities Building will have a kiln yard, a sculpture garden and display area and gathering space for students and faculty. The Arts & Humanities Building is a a dual-classroom project with the Business Technology Building.

The Business Technology Building consists of approximately 62,000 square feet of new space for the business department, including new space for classes in business studies, the Enactus small-business certificate program and business and computer systems.

Inside the building will be seven computer labs; classrooms; a lecture hall; areas for startup businesses for students in the business education program; common areas; and associated support space for faculty and staff.

The entire Arts & Humanities/Business Technology Complex is on track to obtain LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. It is due to be completed by the end of August and ready for the fall semester.

The Arts & Humanities/Business Technology Complex is funded via voter-approved bond measures Propositions S and N. The money is going toward six new instructional and career training facilities, eight major renovations, parking facilities, public safety enhancements and infrastructure upgrade.

Also under construction in central San Diego is the Albert Einstein Academies, a charter middle school where construction was on track for completion Aug. 27 and open for classes on Sept. 2.

The Grant Hill-area school will be a 38,000-square-foot campus. It will have 20 classrooms, administration offices, a media and technology center, library, indoor workout room, outdoor basketball area and state-of-the-art equipment.

The project involves renovating an old multilevel, dilapidated building and modernizing it to code standards to house teachers and students.

The new site is expected to have 600 students at full capacity.

“We look forward to revitalizing a building that has long been vacant and becoming a part of the Grant Hill community,” said Barb Robinson, middle school principal.

Albert Einstein Academies bought the existing structure and land at 458 26th St. for $2.9 million. Construction costs are estimated at $11 million.

Construction is being funded via private institutional investors who bought municipal bonds. The investors' names have not been released.

BYCOR General Contractors is the company in charge of construction. Studio E Architects designed the school.

This middle school replacement project is the next step for Albert Einstein Academies in fulfilling its goal of providing every level of pre-college education.

Albert Einstein Academies has an elementary charter school and plans to add a high school when funding is available.

“We are building on more than a decade of high academic achievement, the world-renowned international baccalaureate program and a unique emphasis on foreign-language learning that is preparing our students for a global future,” said David Sciarretta, executive director of Albert Einstein Academies.

Albert Einstein Academies’ board of trustees has been working to replace the middle school since 2011; escrow closed Dec. 12.

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