Transformation begins at former school district site

A dramatic "thump" and a cloud of dust on Thursday were the first steps toward converting an unused former school district building into an outdoor recreation area for SF State students.

A photo of SF State President Robert A. Corrigan flanked by officials on hand for a ceremony marking the transition of a former San Francisco Unified School District property into an outdoor recreation area for SF State students.

SF State President Robert A. Corrigan, second from left, is flanked by officials on hand for a ceremony marking the transition of a former San Francisco Unified School District property into an outdoor recreation area for SF State students.

SF State held a "transformation ceremony" July 19 for the 2.5-acre Font Boulevard site that formerly was home to the San Francisco Unified School District's (SFUSD) School of the Arts. The University recently purchased the site, unused since 2007, for $11 million with funds allocated from the state for land acquisition and capital projects. The property will be converted into an outdoor recreation area.

Officials on hand for the ceremony included SF State President Robert A. Corrigan, San Francisco Board of Education Commissioner Hydra Mendoza, SFUSD Deputy Superintendent Myong Leigh, former SF State Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer and current Cal State East Bay President Leroy M. Morishita, and California Department of General Services representatives Eric Delapa and Jerry Leong.

President Corrigan called the current building an "eyesore," but paid tribute to its past life as a place that helped diversify the school district. He lauded the transformation as a key step that will benefit both the University, by providing additional facilities for students, and the school district, by providing needed funds via the sale proceeds.

He then triggered an electronic pulley system that brought down the first section of wall with a loud "thud," to applause from members of the SF State and school district communities gathered for the ceremony.

Demolition work will continue through the summer, and the recreation area is estimated to be ready for student use in spring 2013. SF State's 2007 Campus Master Plan calls for a clinical sciences academic building to ultimately be constructed on the site.

The University will keep campus neighbors informed about demolition. For updates on the project, visit the SF State Capital Planning, Design and Construction website. To learn more about the University's master plan, visit http://www.sfsu.edu/~build/plan.htm.

-- Jonathan Morales