College Courses Coming to Barrio Logan
By Brent E. Beltrán
On Wednesday morning (September 25) local community college dignitaries, area politicians, city administrators, business people and community members came together to break ground on the César E. Chávez Continuing Education Campus in Barrio Logan.
The facility, on the site of the first and third incarnations of Chuey’s Restaurant, will provide almost 68,000 square feet of space including 22 classrooms, a multi-purpose room and space for small business development, as well as a student lounge that will pay tribute to Chuey’s.
The school will focus on providing career training in allied health as well as job training/certificate programs, English as Second Language, Adult Basic Education, General Education Diploma preparation, business, computers and IT, parent education and older adult education programs.
These are all programs that will serve the community of Barrio Logan and surrounding neighborhoods well.
The $50 million campus was designed by Martinez + Cutri, a San Diego based architecture corporation that has designed many beautiful local civic projects including the Logan Heights Library. The building is on track to receive a LEED Silver certification.
This new development, on the corner of César E. Chávez Parkway and Main Street next to the Barrio Logan Trolley Station and across from the new Mercado del Barrio, will replace the old brick building that is adjacent to Chicano Park.
The Chicano Park Steering Committee has eyed the old structure for years hoping to eventually turn it into a Chicano Park museum and cultural center that would house Tommie Camarillo’s magnificent archives of Chicano Park and San Diego’s Chicano history. Hopefully the city, with some help from district 8 councilman David Alvarez, can make that a reality.
The new César E. Chávez campus will have onsite underground parking for almost 150 spaces and, recognizing the need for more parking, a structure will be built two blocks away at the old Chávez Center with spaces for over 300 cars. This parking structure will be a welcome relief to Barrio Logan residents who have had to deal with a lack of parking due to Chávez students, waterfront industry workers, churchgoers and big events such as Chicano Park Day.
Speakers at the groundbreaking ceremony included Anthony E. Beebe, President of San Diego Continuing Education, Dr. Constance M. Carroll, Chancellor of San Diego Community College District, Robin Carvajal, Dean of César E. Chávez campus and Barrio Logan maven and Executive Director of Barrio Station, Rachel Ortiz, among other education dignitaries.
Some of those in attendance at the ceremony included mayoral candidate and councilman David Alvarez, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, former UFW activist Carlos Legerette, Tom Ryan of Ryan Bros. Coffee, Ben Avey of Family Health Center and Lara Gates, the City of San Diego’s Community Plan Update Project Manager who was instrumental in pushing the Barrio Logan Community Plan Update along.
The creation of the new César E. Chávez campus is but another example of the positive things that are happening in Barrio Logan.
From the burgeoning Barrio Arts District that is anchored by Chicano Park and grassroots art spaces such as Voz Alta Project Gallery, The Roots Factory, The Spot Barrio Logan, Glashaus and Bread & Salt to new developments such as the affordable housing apartments of the Estrella del Mercado, the Mercado del Barrio, which is home to Northgate Market and Tocumbo Ice Cream, and the Monarch School for homeless youth. To old stalwarts such as Barrio Station, the Logan Heights Family Health Center (founded as the Chicano Free Clinic), Las Cuatro Milpas and Barrio Logan College Institute as well as relative newcomers like Ryan Bros. Coffee. All of these institutions are an integral part of the revitalization of Barrio Logan from a place of negative stereotypes to the living, breathing, vibrant community that Barrio Logan is and has always been.
The investment, through Proposition S & N funds, in the César E. Chávez Continuing Education Campus is a sign that the city, educators and the community believe that the residents of Barrio Logan are deserving of a first rate education complex that will serve the needs of the area. It’s been a long time coming and we look forward to the opening in late 2014.
For more information on the César E. Chávez campus and the parking structure.