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Bond Projects Transforming City Heights (1)

Bond Projects Bring More Milestones, Transformations to City Heights
Posted on 02/18/2021
An Aerial View of the New Wilson Middle Campus

SAN DIEGO - Modern times call for modern buildings. What were once aging facilities in City Heights are now completely rebuilt, revamped, and recognizable landmarks.


Head to Orange Avenue and you’ll find a brand new Wilson Middle School campus that is nearly completed, with demolition of the former site now underway. The demolition marks the start of another massive project to build a new Central Elementary School from the ground up. 


“We’ve been waiting for this day to come,” said Central Elementary Principal Elizabeth “Liz” Castillo-Duvall. “With the help of the parents, staff, and the community, we have designed a campus that will not only uplift and inspire our students, but the community as well.” 


VIEW: A Video Celebration of Central Wilson Project Milestones


This project follows on the heels of Hoover High School’s new theater and classroom building, which integrated the traditional Spanish-style architecture with modern, state-of-the-art, technology. 


The Central Wilson complete rebuild is near and dear to Superintendent Cindy Marten, who spent a decade working as a teacher, instructional leader, and principal at Central before taking on her role as superintendent at San Diego Unified. 


“Central Elementary and its entire community will always hold a special place in my heart,” Marten said. “I am excited about the new state-of-the art campus that will soon be a deserving home to Central’s incredible students, staff and families.” 



During her time at Central, Marten nurtured innovative programs to support students and staff, including a biliteracy program, a hands-on school garden program, quality after-school and preschool programs, employees’ child day care center, and a community health and wellness center. 


Magnifying that success, the new Central Elementary campus will include 26 new general-purpose classrooms and 14 specialized classrooms, including kindergarten, preschool and special education classrooms. Each of the general classrooms has access to an approximately 280 square-foot collaborative space designed for pull-out instruction. 


Central ES New Entrance Rendering

Pictured: Rendering of Central Elementary School's Future Entrance along Orange Avenue 


New academic support spaces include student services offices, a Library Learning Center, multipurpose room, daycare, and an after-school program. The project also features a community clinic and health center. Additionally, three new play areas will be constructed.


The first new play area is in a courtyard created by the kindergarten buildings and is dedicated to pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students. The second play area is in the center of the new campus and includes play equipment, a grass field; and basketball, volleyball and, four-square hardscape surfaces. The third play area is adjacent to the lunch shelter on the northwestern portion of the new campus and includes play equipment and hardscape surfaces. 


“This has been years in the making and will be one of the largest investments that the taxpayers have made, not only in the history of our district but one of the largest public investments and job creating projects in the history of City Heights,” said Richard Barrera, Board of Education President and District D Trustee. 


Central Elementary New Community Clinic RenderingCentral ES Classroom Rendering

Pictured left: Rendering of Upcoming Community Clinic at Central Elementary. Right: Upcoming Classroom at Central Elementary School


At the new Wilson Middle School campus are seven new buildings, including a one-story student services facility with a health center, parent room, student services offices and support spaces; two two-story classroom buildings with science, special education, general purpose classrooms, food kiosks and support spaces; a three-story facility with a music program on the first floor, library and engineering classrooms on the second floor, and arts and support spaces on the third floor; a two-story building that has physical education on the first floor, and performing arts and a multi-purpose room on the upper floor; a two-story building with a food services area and an innovative three level parking structure that includes play courts on the top floor. 


“We can’t wait to have our students physically back to campus and back to this newly rebuilt site,” said Dave Downey, Principal of Wilson Middle. 


Wilson Collage

Pictured: Aerial Rendering of New Science and General Purpose Classroom Buildings, New Classroom, and New Theater at Wilson Middle 


The main entrance to the new Wilson Middle School was moved from 39th Street to 37th Street along Orange Avenue. A new student drop-off and pick-up area, including a bus zone and an area for special education students, was also constructed.  Another bus drop-off and loading zone is provided along 37th St.


“This really is an investment in the overall community of City Heights,” Barrera said. “We’re building great schools and we’re building a great City Heights community at the same time.” 


Construction on the new Central Elementary School site will be completed in winter 2022. The district plans on using the existing site along Polk Avenue for teacher and employee housing. 


To read more about this project, and other bond projects, visit http://fpcprojects.sandi.net.


BACKGROUND: San Diego Unified’s capital projects are funded by San Diego Unified School District’s Propositions S, Z and Measure YY, which are local bond measures approved by San Diego voters to repair, renovate and revitalize neighborhood schools.  



Jamie Ries, Facilities Communications Liaison, [email protected]

Samer Naji, Facilities Communication Supervisor, [email protected]