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Chula Vista University, anyone?

With land secured for school, city looks to Mexico for partnerships

"The Innovation District provides the unique opportunity to establish multiple corporate campus sites in one location..."
"The Innovation District provides the unique opportunity to establish multiple corporate campus sites in one location..."

Chula Vista wants a four-year university and they're looking to Mexico to find one.

"It took years, but we've assembled the land," Chula Vista city manager Gary Halbert said in an interview on July 14.

The city closed on the last piece of land in December and now holds 375 acres of land east of the South Otay Lakes area — a parcel large enough for a four-year college.

With the land next to the Olympic Training Center secured, the city has now committed $800,000 to finding a university partner and developing the site.

In April, U3 Advisors, a Philadelphia consultancy firm that specializes in university, hospital, and nonprofit development, secured a $488,000 contract. (The consultants brokered a deal in June that will bring a graduate-level engineering program from the Rochester Institute of Technology to Carlsbad.)

Duties include hiring a full-time project senior associate, whose first day of work will be August 1. Job qualifications include at least seven years of experience in urban planning, community development or economic development and a "deep knowledge of San Diego County, Southern California and Tijuana, Mexico”; understanding higher education trends, policies and practices in SoCal and Mexico; experience working with nonprofits and a strong command of Spanish.

"We are looking to partner with universities in Mexico," Halbert confirmed. "The U3 work effort will be putting together a recruitment package for universities — the city wants a four-year nonprofit or public university."

At first, the city considered hosting a satellite campus for San Diego State University or the University of California-San Diego.

"It would mean competing for state university funds and that brought resistance," said Paola Avila, of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

San Diego's public universities are mostly in central and north county, though more than a third of the population lives south of San Diego State University. Avila said the region's schools need greater emphasis on cross-border opportunities and bilingual education that can support U.S.-Mexico businesses such as technology and engineering.

A second contract, for up to $299,375 with Maryland–based architectural firm Ayers Saint Gross, is for a series of workshops on the development plans for the university and an “innovation park.”

Halbert says the city is committed to the project — land acquisition began in 2008.

"Chula Vista is the only city in California with more than 200,000 people that doesn't have a nonprofit or state university," he said. "We think that establishing this kind of school creates all kinds of opportunity for our residents."

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"The Innovation District provides the unique opportunity to establish multiple corporate campus sites in one location..."
"The Innovation District provides the unique opportunity to establish multiple corporate campus sites in one location..."

Chula Vista wants a four-year university and they're looking to Mexico to find one.

"It took years, but we've assembled the land," Chula Vista city manager Gary Halbert said in an interview on July 14.

The city closed on the last piece of land in December and now holds 375 acres of land east of the South Otay Lakes area — a parcel large enough for a four-year college.

With the land next to the Olympic Training Center secured, the city has now committed $800,000 to finding a university partner and developing the site.

In April, U3 Advisors, a Philadelphia consultancy firm that specializes in university, hospital, and nonprofit development, secured a $488,000 contract. (The consultants brokered a deal in June that will bring a graduate-level engineering program from the Rochester Institute of Technology to Carlsbad.)

Duties include hiring a full-time project senior associate, whose first day of work will be August 1. Job qualifications include at least seven years of experience in urban planning, community development or economic development and a "deep knowledge of San Diego County, Southern California and Tijuana, Mexico”; understanding higher education trends, policies and practices in SoCal and Mexico; experience working with nonprofits and a strong command of Spanish.

"We are looking to partner with universities in Mexico," Halbert confirmed. "The U3 work effort will be putting together a recruitment package for universities — the city wants a four-year nonprofit or public university."

At first, the city considered hosting a satellite campus for San Diego State University or the University of California-San Diego.

"It would mean competing for state university funds and that brought resistance," said Paola Avila, of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

San Diego's public universities are mostly in central and north county, though more than a third of the population lives south of San Diego State University. Avila said the region's schools need greater emphasis on cross-border opportunities and bilingual education that can support U.S.-Mexico businesses such as technology and engineering.

A second contract, for up to $299,375 with Maryland–based architectural firm Ayers Saint Gross, is for a series of workshops on the development plans for the university and an “innovation park.”

Halbert says the city is committed to the project — land acquisition began in 2008.

"Chula Vista is the only city in California with more than 200,000 people that doesn't have a nonprofit or state university," he said. "We think that establishing this kind of school creates all kinds of opportunity for our residents."

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Comments
9

Why can't we just stop with this border mentality? Let's work to get a world class university into the area. I for one don't thing that cooperating with a third world country can result in anything worth considering.

July 14, 2015

Look around you. The world is getting SMALLER. Live with it.

July 17, 2015

I am all for a non-profit or public university but it should concentrate on educating citizens and legal residents of the United States.

July 15, 2015

Hey, non-residents pay higher tuition. More money for the school. Just an FYI.

July 17, 2015

City Manager Halbert should learn his history!

The City had the property 'assembled' at the beginning of the Otay Ranch development project...all 400 acres were to be gifted by the Baldwins, the purchasers of the United Enterprises properties that comprised the Otay Ranch in the late 1980's. The 'gift' was to be contingent upon commitment by the UC system to site a four-year university on the site following the development of the Merced UC campus.

The land so gifted was fraught with environmental issues, so the gift was to make it more likely to pass environmental muster...the Baldwin folks knew it would never be acceptable environmentally for housing development and it made a nice quid pro plan to entice the city to accept.

Subsequent defaults on loans and other deals led to the less than 400 acres now in the so-called grant, as well as arrangements and side deals by the City and who knows who else? The original 400 acres were to be immediately adjacent to the Otay Lakes and the Olympic Training Center, but it does not look like that is where the subject property is located now.

July 15, 2015

You are very right. You know the history. Sure would be nice if the city of Chula Vista could figure out how to do things the right way, instead of the expedient way, or the way that makes the developers happiest, despite the city plan, despite the community's best interests and wishes, despite what promises have previously been made.

Do you think that the city of Chula Vista can rise to the occasion, or do you think they will fritter away yet another opportunity?

July 17, 2015

I will repeat a suggestion from someone else--that Chula Vista would be a good site for another Cal Poly. As there are only two of those, and the San Diego area has UCSD, and SDSU as well as San Marcos, a Cal Poly would definitely add something new and workable to the mix.

I do think that establishing a college or university in Chula Vista is a great idea, but know that many people will be nay-sayers. Many people will disparage any notion that something good could happen here, which is why it is necessary to work towards making something good happen.

Bringing in international cooperation is ok to a point. But the entire venture needs to be solid with plans within the US, so that if a 'partner' were to back out, the overall institution would not fall apart.

Again, I will say that if this happens, the campus should be built with accessibility in mind, with energy saving in mind, with water saving in mind. Roofs could be pitched so that run-off can be gatherered.

"A Smart Campus for A Smart School"--believe it or not, Chula Vista could become a showplace for intelligent planning.

There is so much that can be accomplished if we start with clear thoughts of a worthy school. Let's think of what will serve the young people the best--and what will serve the future.

People who like to downgrade anything south of 94 or 54 as not worth investing in--(except when they run north with profits) are not who we need to listen to.

Nor do we need to listen to those who fancy themselves "big", but never really do anything for this area. However they might like to be on boards, if they never do anything good and are there for show, publicity and for the chance to grab corporate handouts, we don't want them as a part of this project.

We want people who can think, plan, dream, organize, build, create, inspire--people who know that higher education is more than dollar bills. It is the way to show all people what they can be capable of.

July 17, 2015

Superb idea to focus on a CalPoly campus as a desired and appropriate institution for the goals set for this 'university' site!

July 17, 2015

The person who came up with this idea--or at least put it forth publicly (in another online publication) had the moniker "CVLancer", so my guess is that they have long-standing associations with this area.

I wish I knew where to go with this idea. I can only hope it will be picked up, noticed and acted upon.

If the Olympic Training site and the other acreage that has been set aside for a university can be combined, there is a possibility for something outstanding. The city of Chula Vista has been so completely overrun by short-term development that the actual planning that results in a community with all the elements necessary has been left behind.

We need to return to using the city plan, not undercutting the city plan.

We need to provide the enriching elements which will make Chula Vista a positive place. We do not want quick-built, slapped together housing that looks rundown in 15 - 20 years, and is then used for section 8 housing.

Sure wish we could get through to the city of Chula Vista on this.

July 19, 2015

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