San Diego Unified will open a new high school this fall in Logan Heights as part of a unique comprehensive campus that aims to serve neighborhood children from the time they are preschoolers to when they graduate high school.
This is the first time the district has created a new high school cluster since 1993, when it created the Scripps Ranch cluster, said interim Superintendent Lamont Jackson at a school board meeting Tuesday. The school board then voted unanimously to redraw school attendance boundaries to accommodate the new Logan Heights high school.
The high school will be the latest component of the $180 million Logan-Memorial Educational Complex, or LMEC, a project more than six years in the making that aims to revamp education for the historically underserved and predominantly Latino Greater Logan Heights neighborhoods. The new complex repurposes the sites of two former district schools: Logan K-8 and Memorial Prep Middle.
LMEC is designed to serve children from “cradle to career” in that it includes a preschool, an elementary school, a middle school and a high school, which will include programs to introduce students to potential careers. The campus is already open and serving children up to eighth grade.
“The whole vision of LMEC was, how do we create an educational opportunity in the neighborhood that people don’t feel like they need to put their kids on a bus to leave the community to get a quality education,” said School Board Trustee Richard Barrera.
The project has been funded by three voter-approved school bond measures, as well as developer fees.
School buildings for younger grades are on the west side of the campus and the high school will be on the east side. The campus includes new two-story classroom buildings, a track and field stadium, basketball courts and parking areas. On the high school side, there will be a new theater, gym, cafeteria and spaces designed for career programs.
Chris Sandoval, pastor of Servant Church and president of Alma Community Care in Logan Heights, applauded the LEMC at Tuesday’s board meeting. He said his church and Alma Community Care have discovered in their own research that many Logan Heights residents spend most of their lives within half a dozen blocks of their home.
“So having not only another elementary and middle school, but especially our community’s first high school ever, is huge for us,” Sandoval said. “This is going to be a huge blessing to our community and our families, and not just for the students but also for the parents.”
The high school will open this fall to an estimated 230 freshmen and will add a grade level for each of the next three years. By 2025, the school is expected to grow to 900 students in grades 9-12.
Seven elementary schools located closest to LEMC will be re-routed from feeding into San Diego High School, which is located downtown, to feeding into LEMC: Sherman, Perkins, Kimbrough, Rodriguez, Burbank, Emerson and Logan Memorial.
The new attendance boundaries will be grandfathered in, so students who are currently enrolled at those schools will be allowed to matriculate to San Diego High for ninth grade if they choose, said Regina Rega, manager for San Diego Unified’s instructional facilities planning department. No students currently enrolled at San Diego High will be required to change schools.
The boundary changes will cause San Diego High to lose about 400 to 600 students by 2025, the district estimates. Officials hope to mitigate those enrollment losses by encouraging more families to choose San Diego High as their neighborhood school and by increasing the number of enrollment slots for students who want to attend San Diego High from outside the school’s boundaries, Rega said.
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