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Posted December 14, 2017, 12:00 AM Updated April 16, 2020, 10:20 AM

The answers to the most commonly asked questions about campus expansion


Why is CCA expanding its San Francisco campus?

CCA is expanding its San Francisco campus to create a richer learning experience for students. Building on 113 years of learning through making, the expanded campus will be a living, learning laboratory; a model of sustainable design and operation; and a catalyst for creativity and changemaking in San Francisco’s burgeoning art and design district. It will provide on-campus housing for nearly half our student body, alleviating demand on market-rate housing in the region, and will build a stronger community by bringing all of our programs together in one location for the first time in decades.

How did CCA come to this decision?

After nearly a decade of qualitative and quantitative research, CCA finalized a strategic plan for our future and growth through outreach to our community of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and trustees. During the process, we confirmed that one of our greatest challenges is our two-campus structure and its effect on teaching and learning inside and outside of the classroom. The physical divide that currently separates our community presents social, logistical, and—most importantly—pedagogical challenges.

We also determined the far-reaching benefits of bringing our academic programs together in a single location. These include significantly increasing synergies among disciplines, allowing us to build new, improved, and integrated facilities for making, learning and living, and increasing connections among CCA community members and with leading practitioners, industries, and supporters outside of the college.

Who is designing CCA’s expanded main academic building?

Award-winning architecture firm Studio Gang has been selected to design our expanded main academic building in San Francisco. In addition, new student housing projects by award-winning firms LMS Architects and Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects Inc. have opened and are underway. The overall expansion project will also feature renovations of current buildings on the San Francisco campus.

When will expansion be complete?

View the expansion timeline for more details.

How is expansion being funded?

A number of financing strategies will be employed, including a major capital campaign, prudent borrowing, use of reserves built up for this purpose, and leveraging other CCA assets. As in the past, no tuition dollars will be used for campus expansion efforts.

When, how, and why was Studio Gang selected to design the expanded main academic building?

After completing an international search for an architect, CCA announced in November 2016 the selection of MacArthur Award–winning architect Jeanne Gang and her firm Studio Gang for the design of our expanded campus in San Francisco. Through an extensive review process, involving CCA trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends, Studio Gang was selected for its visionary work, commitment to innovation and sustainability, and collaborative style.

Why is CCA expanding in San Francisco and not Oakland?

CCA was able to purchase a large property behind our main academic building on the San Francisco campus, which allows for the needed expansion. The Oakland campus is landlocked and does not have the space or facilities needed to bring all CCA programs and students together.

How will students be able to afford living in San Francisco?

Our San Francisco campus will include on-campus, below-market-rate housing for more than 700 students, with housing nearby for another 200 students—fully housing all first- and second-year students.

CCA has been a trailblazer in creating student housing in San Francisco. Along with a handful of other institutions, CCA worked with the city of San Francisco in 2010 to establish a special student housing ordinance that recognized this urgent need. CCA has three of the first four projects to be completed under this ordinance (Panoramic Residences, Blattner Hall, and Founders Hall).

To attract burgeoning talent, CCA’s ability to house incoming students is vital to its long-term growth plan in San Francisco. CCA sees providing housing as not only a necessity for taking care of our students, but as part of being a responsible civic partner, making an investment at the community level.

Why does CCA want to move all its programs to San Francisco?

For over 100 years CCA has been a leader in creativity and innovation. With our 1,950 students, 500-plus faculty, 200 staff, and 34 degree programs, we have an opportunity to add tangible value in San Francisco, to contribute to the burgeoning arts community in our immediate neighborhood, and to lead conversations around the important role of artists and designers in the life of the city and region.

Does this mean that CCA is eliminating Oakland-based fine arts and crafts programs?

No, we do not plan to eliminate any of our programs. We’re excited about the possibility of creating new and improved facilities for all kinds of making, including traditional crafts such as ceramics, jewelry and metal arts, glass, and textiles. By bringing the academic programs together, we hope to create synergies among all our programs in fine arts, crafts, design, architecture, and writing.

What’s going to happen to CCA’s Oakland property?

After an extensive search and review process, CCA selected Equity Community Builders and Emerald Fund (ECB/EF) to work with us on the Oakland property redevelopment process. We selected both firms, based on their experience creating places that strengthen and contribute to community vitality. CCA has worked with these firms to develop a vision for the property that honors our artistic legacy, features spaces dedicated to artists and the arts, enhances public access to the site, and provides much-needed affordable and market-rate housing. A plan was submitted to the city in fall 2018.

Will CCA continue to own the Oakland site?

CCA has entered into an option agreement with ECB/EF that will allow them to purchase the property after an extensive entitlement process is completed. If ECB/EF chooses to purchase the property, they’ll own and manage it once it’s developed. This agreement enables us to work closely with ECB/EF to both develop immediate plans for the property and help leave a lasting legacy of the arts on the site.

Note: This FAQ was originally posted on December 14, 2017. There have been many updates since then, we updated the content above on February 28, 2020.

Can’t find the answer you’re looking for? Email CCA Campus Planning.

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