Noe Valley Voice March 2009

City College Returns to the Castro in June

By Corrie M. Anders

Ten years after establishing a popular satellite campus at James Lick Middle School, City College of San Francisco is leaving Noe Valley for its former home in the Castro District.

Starting June 16 with the summer session, students will attend classes at Everett Middle School, located at 450 Church Street. May 22 is the last day for classes at the Lick Campus at Noe and 25th streets.

The campus was forced to relocate because James Lick does not meet accessibility standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act, said Bruce Smith, dean of the Castro/Valencia Campus at Lick.

"We have an agreement, based on a lawsuit, to make all of our sites ADA-accessible," Smith said. The lawsuit was settled several years ago, and "one of the specifics of that agreement was that the Castro Campus had to be accessible," he said.

City College installed wheelchair ramps when the campus first opened in 2000. But Smith noted that four-story James Lick does not have elevators and "none of the bathrooms" have been retrofitted to make them user-friendly for students with disabilities.

However, the San Francisco Unified School District, which operates both Lick and Everett, has completely renovated Everett, on Church between 16th and 17th streets. "That's why we decided to move back there."

City College originally opened a satellite at the Everett site in the 1980s. It moved to James Lick when Everett underwent renovations.

The campus also plans to change its name simply to the Castro Campus. After City College opened a Mission District satellite on Valencia Street in February of last year, the Castro/Valencia name proved too confusing, Smith said.

Neighbors May Smile

As many as 3,000 City College students attend evening and weekend classes at James Lick during the fall, spring, or summer sessions. The crush of students often causes parking headaches for nearby residents, many of whom are returning home from work as students arrive for classes.

"It takes a while for the neighbors to get used to the heavy-duty parking" that accompanies the first two weeks of each new session, Smith said. The parking crunch generally eases by the third week, as students drop out of classes.

Smith said more parking would be available at the Everett location than at James Lick.

Smith praised the administration and staff at the Noe Valley school.

"James Lick has been very hospitable," he said. "I can't say enough nice things about James Lick."