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History and Facts

San Diego City College historic photo

Celebrating 100 Years of History

San Diego City College is a public, two-year community college administered by the San Diego Community College District.  Serving as the educational cornerstone of downtown San Diego, the college comprises 60 acres and is 1/5 of the downtown footprint. The college offers 250 majors and certificate programs and 1,500 classes each semester to more than 17,000 students. City College celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2014.

Land Acknowledgment to the Kumeyaay Nation

San Diego City College acknowledges that we gather on unceded Kumeyaay land. We value Indigenous knowledge and cultural worldview. We commit to providing transformative educational experiences for all campus members and guests as we examine practices that perpetuate harm against Indigenous, Black, Brown, and other marginalized communities. We pledge to sustain a meaningful and respectful relationship with the Kumeyaay and other Indigenous communities as we honor this beautiful land together.

Timeline of City College

1914  City College was the first community college in San Diego (San Diego Junior College) with 34 students and 4 instructors. City College was the fifth community college established in California.

1921  City College moved from the high school to share facilities with the State Normal School, the four-year teachers' college, which became San Diego State University.

1939  San Diego Evening Junior College was created by splitting the institution into two entities, day and evening. With the industrial growth in San Diego, the Evening College was needed to meet the demand for college courses for daytime working people.

1946  City College moved back to San Diego High School and reorganized into three branches: San Diego Vocational High School, San Diego College Arts and Sciences, and San Diego Evening Junior College.

1953-54  The first parcel of land, a single city block between Russ Boulevard and A Street, from 14th to 15th Streets, was purchased for the permanent home of what is now San Diego CityCollege. The first buildings constructed were the A and T buildings.

1970's  Increasing enrollment resulted in a major expansion project bounded by Russ Boulevard, 17th, 12th and C Streets. The L, C, S, M, E, D and F buildings were constructed.

1972  San Diego voters authorized a separate Community College District.

1988  A facilities Master Plan was developed to recommend modifications to the existing facility, to meet current and future needs.

1989  City College celebrated its 75th Anniversary.

1992  The new 3,000 SF Fitness Center opens with full fitness and exercise facilities.

1998  City College leased to San Diego Unified School District property on which Garfield High School and a 420-space parking structure is built. City students shared use of the parking and the College can offer classes in the facility.

2000  Construction completed on the 8,000 SF Educational Technology Center. The ETC is fully equipped with state-of-the-art media and teleconferencing equipment.

2002  The 67,000 SF Learning Resource Center (LRC) replaced the 30-year-old library. Complete with the most advanced research and learning tools available with 300-internet connected computers, multiple electronic databases, plasma displays offering continuous broadcast news, a collection of more than 67,000 books and over 200 periodicals. The three-level LRC also houses the Multimedia Center, the Independent Learning Center, and CitySITE - a center for faculty and staff development.

2005  A new Facilities Master Plan was approved by the Board of Trustees and projects a 20-year build-out to accommodate 25,000 students.

2005  The 2,000-seat, 55,000 SF Harry West Gymnasium opened. Dedicated to beloved Coach West, students enjoy three regulation basketball courts, six badminton courts, three volleyball courts, intercollegiate team rooms, workout facilities and new classrooms.

2007  Eight high-tech classrooms added to the LRC lower level, with additional offices and meeting space.

2009  The 27,800 SF Academic Success Center opened to provide a one-stop service area for students, including: Tutorial, Math and English Centers, and the EOPS, MESA (Math, Engineering, & Science Achievement), New Horizons, Puente, Umoja, and CalWORKs Programs.

2010  The new 88,000 SF CTC - Career Technology Center - opens. This five-level building at 16th & C Streets houses Cosmetology, Nursing, Photography and Digital Arts, a Student Gallery, the College Police and an 11-story 700-car parking structure.

2013  The 66,000 SF Mathematics and Social Sciences building opened. This five-story facility houses Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Alcohol and Other Drug Studies, Human Services, Peace Studies, Futures Studies, Gender Studies, the Institute for Human Development, the Corporate Education Center and the District's Military Education program. A seven-story, 400-stall parking garage is adjacent to the building.

2014  In spring, the 98,000 SF Life Sciences and Physical Sciences building opened. The four-story building includes classrooms, labs, an outdoor teaching garden, a rooftop observation deck and a planetarium.

In fall, the 128,000 SF Arts & Humanities and 62,000 SF Business Technology buildings will welcome new students for classes in the Visual Arts, English, Speech and Foreign Languages, and Business Studies and Computer Systems. Enjoy the art gallery and sculpture garden too.

2015  The Office of Student Affairs began welcoming students to the newly renovated M building in Spring 2015. This light, bright and spacious student center is home to the Associated Students Government (ASG) and the Inter Club Council (ICC). An inviting reception area provides a comfortable and relaxing gathering area for students.

2016  In spring, the 31,155 sqft. Center for the Media and Performing Arts “C” building opened with contemporary new spaces for Dance, Drama & Theater, Music, and Radio, TV & Film programs. Students now enjoy a cutting-edge, fully digital
TV studio and recording studios for producing its weekly, student produced “Newscene” news show.

2018  In Fall 2018, the “A” building opened after an extensive remodel with an emphasis on Student Services.

2021  In spring, construction of the 10,000 sqft. Early Education Center was completed. The new space includes classrooms for infant, toddler, and preschool children; faculty offices; a kitchen; lobby/reception area; and a faculty conference room. Other features include a 14,000 sqft. playground space, equipment storage, and a parking/drop off area.