San Diego Unified School District
Smith Campus Sdusd

Joint campus opens in San Diego's City Heights neighborhood

Sept. 28, 2023
A newly built Central Elementary is sharing a campus with a renovated Wilson Middle School.

The San Diego Unified District has opened a joint campus in the City Heights neighborhood.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the George Walker Smith Educational Campus on Orange Avenue is one of the district’s most expensive facilities projects yet, costing $250 million. That amount tops the $180 million it took to build Logan Memorial Educational Campus, a similar joint campus that opened three years ago in Logan Heights.

The City Heights campus combines Central Elementary with Wilson Middle. Central moved from its Polk Avenue location this fall to share Wilson’s campus. Both schools feed into Hoover High School.

Last school year, Wilson enrolled about 730 students and Central 530.

Both Central Elementary, which opened in 1938, and Wilson Middle, opened in 1924, had outdated buildings in need of renovation. San Diego Unified plans to lease the former site of Central Elementary to a developer that will turn the site into housing for the general public.

The new campus has classrooms, play areas and other spaces designed to accommodate programs that had been long-running at Central, including employee child care, preschool, after-school enrichment and a Spanish biliteracy program.

Central Elementary has 26 general-use classrooms and 14 classrooms for specific purposes, including a music room, robotics lab and special education classrooms. It also has a health clinic, library, a conference room for parent classes and meetings, and three play areas.

Wilson Middle’s side of the campus includes a performing arts theater, classrooms for science, engineering and arts, a multipurpose room and a three-level parking structure.

The top floor of Wilson Middle’s parking structure has basketball courts and will double as a community park. The campus will also have a soccer field that will be open to community use.

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