CampusConstruction01.12.11.jpgThe new City College of San Francisco campus serving Chinatown and North Beach has been steadily making progress toward its 2012 open date, officials said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

The campus is being built in two buildings – one about 30,000 square feet and the other about 127,000 square feet – near the intersection of Washington and Kearny streets.

Once it is completed, the facility will offer the most non-college-credit courses of City College’s 13 campuses, Chancellor Don Griffin said.

“The vision of the future is for more for-credit classes, but right now we want to serve the community, which has a high demand for English as a Second Language classes,” he said.

Griffin said the campus would also provide a substantial number of classes for practical job skills.

“My goal is to focus on career technical education more than we have in the past,” he said.

Today’s conference marks about one year since officials gathered to celebrate the pouring of concrete at the two locations. The project broke ground in November 2008.

Last February, the construction sites were not much more than holes in the ground.

Now, foundation has been laid out, beams have gone up, and construction is in full swing.

When completed, the smaller facility will be four stories tall, and the larger will be 14 stories. Together, they will serve to up to 7,500 community members.

But not everyone is excited about the campus opening.

The neighboring Hilton hotel and Louie’s California Chinese restaurant have voiced concerns about how construction time and noise have impacted their business.

“Construction traffic in and out of the area has affected business negatively,” Griffin said.

He said City College officials have been in touch with the Hilton and Louie’s, and the school might respond to claims filed against the school by paying out in cash.

“We are looking into paying for losses that are documented,” Griffin said.

A disgruntled resident at today’s news conference who did not want to be named said Louie’s restaurant didn’t have a valid claim to ask for money lost from construction of the campus.

“They will never have the paperwork to prove the losses they have suffered,” she said.

“They don’t cater to the working class and they never have.”

The restaurant manager was not available for comment.

Others in the community have accepted the new campus favorably and look forward to when they can rent out the space for local events, Associate Vice Chancellor Joanne Low said.

“Ballroom dancing is something I hear that community wants all the time,” she said.

When completed, the campus will represent the end of a three-decade struggle of holding classes in temporary spaces.

The campus that currently serves Chinatown and North Beach was established in 1977, and since then it has shuffled between more than 30 different sites.

City College currently leases eight different spaces between Chinatown, North Beach and the Marina District.

The area’s primary campus at 940 Filbert St. is rented from the San Francisco Unified School District and is in need of updates and repairs, according to the college.

The school has raised $122 million for the two buildings now being constructed, and Low said organizers of the effort are still within budget to finish the project.

The campus was initially slated for completion in January 2012, but has since been pushed to May 2012 because of minor complications discovered when initially excavating the sites before breaking ground, Low said.

Saul Sugarman, Bay City News

Want more news, sent to your inbox every day? Then how about subscribing to our email newsletter? Here’s why we think you should. Come on, give it a try.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!