By Abraham Davis
City College’s lease for its Airport Campus—located on the grounds of San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and home of the college’s Aircraft Maintenance Technology and Fire Academy programs—will be expiring next year, forcing these programs to find a new home. The Airport Campus has been at its current location for more than 40 years.
“They are evicting, and asking tenants to leave because they are expanding,” said City College spokesperson Jeff Hamilton.
He said one option being explored was moving to a space hosted by United Airlines, who is SFO’s largest tenant.
“We want to possibly share space with United Airlines’ training, and maybe pipeline their training with our program,” he said. “We want graduates of our programs to have jobs available to them and the most up-to-date technology to train them, so we want to work with the airline.”
At the board of trustees meeting on Feb. 22, Interim Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Tom Boegel submitted a report that said City College administration, United Airlines, and San Francisco Airport management would meet on Feb. 27 to discuss options for relocating the Aircraft Maintenance Program.
The results of the meeting were not disclosed. “We are in ongoing discussions with the airport, and they have been facilitated by the city,” Hamilton said. “There have been a number of meetings.”
Tanya Lyles, chair of the aeronautics department, said she did not know the status of the move.
SFO spokesperson Doug Yekal said the lease for the campus expired on June 30, 2017, but was extended until June 30, 2019 “to provide sufficient time for relocation.” He said SFO is looking for a new site on airport property for the Aircraft Maintenance Technology program and that City College has been at SFO since 1977.
James Connors, interim department chair of the administration of justice and fire science, said the fire academy program will be moving to John Adams Campus, but he did not know when the move would take place.
“We are concerned if the school will have the John Adams campus ready by the time we get there,” Connors said. “Is it ready today? No. Hopefully, it will be ready by the time we get there.”
Connors said it was unlikely the lease would be renewed after the extension. “I’ve been asking that for a year and they said it’s not going to happen.”
Hamilton confirmed in an email that, “at the moment, renewal of the lease is not an option.”
Connors, a retired San Francisco Fire Department captain who has been teaching at City College since 1997, said he is worried about how the fire academy program may be affected.
“A lot of students get hired by the San Francisco Fire Department, and we are concerned we won’t have a training facility to properly train our students,” he said.