Satellite Campus Closures Jeopardize Non-Credit Learners
By Tim Hill
Plans to retire its satellite campus at Fort Mason and to cut back classes at the Civic Center have some older adult and non-English-speaking students feeling abandoned these days.
The Board of Trustees cut 800 classes in the coming academic year.
Once hosting three non-credit classes and 110 credit classes, the Fort Mason lease ended in June 2020 and the college decided not to renew it in an attempt to alleviate a hemorrhaging institutional budget. While the lease there was considerably less than Civic Center’s (Fort Mason being $400,000 to Civic Center’s $1.1 million), the college is continuing to seek solutions to its budget crisis.
At one time, City College had scheduled five credit and 39 non-credit classes at the current Civic Center location on 1170 Market St., as well as 110 credit classes and three non-credit classes at Fort Mason — totaling 326 students and 23 faculty for the academic year.
“It’s unfortunate. Lucrative companies are targeting lots of vital real estate. These assets allow the college to be influential throughout the city. We need these satellite stations to better serve the community,” student Peter Suter said.
The closure of the Fort Mason campus marks the institution’s second property closing in recent times, when the administrative offices closed in July 2019 and moved from 44 Gough St to the Ocean campus.
“When Fort Mason [campus] closed, Tom Temprano and the Board of Trustees didn’t get the kind of break they’d hope to get,” Labor Studies Department Chair Bill Shields said.
Ending the leases at Fort Mason and 1170 Market St. would save the financially strapped college $1.5 million in lease costs alone, but leaves questions for continuing programs largely for seniors and students learning English as a second language. The Civic Center campus in the Tenderloin has faced long-standing seismic retrofitting delays at its 750 Eddy St. location. Today it no longer has a specified timeline.
“Eddy St was bizarre. Just a few days before the Fall semester they discovered the seismic fault and immediately closed the campus. The earthquake retrofitting has been going on ever since.” Shields said.
A recent noon rally in the Fort Mason parking lot called on saving instructional facilities.
The Board of Trustees issued reassurances that no programs would suffer
as a result of the lease expiration, a claim that thus far is impossible to confirm.