School District Purchase of the National Guard Armory Advances
Source: Santa Barbara Unified School District
Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education took final action to approve a $11.6 million purchase of the National Guard Armory, a major component of the 2016, $135 million Bond Measure I. The Board’s action represents the culmination of a 25-year dream for the Santa Barbara community to acquire the National Guard Armory property for public use.
“Securing the National Guard Armory property for public education provides far-reaching advantages for the central coast,” said Board President Jacqueline Reid, PhD. “Goleta, Montecito, and Santa Barbara residents invested in this acquisition because they believed in the future benefit of the site. This has been an ongoing public process, that has shown overtime, the commitment of many stakeholders. Specifically, the district’s prior Board, our south coast community under Measure I, along with state legislators’ - all with a common goal to acquire this contiguous property for the district. We look forward to engaging the community as well as regional leaders to evaluate how best to use the site for the benefit of all students.”
The multi-million dollar purchase of 4.7 acres, an entire city block, was made possible by the passage of AB 2247 in 2016, sponsored by then Assemblymember Das Williams. The legislation extended an opportunity for the district to acquire the site based on fair market value.
“I’m so glad to see the School Board vote to move forward with purchasing the armory property. This is the final step in a long journey led by the community to acquire that property for the benefit of everyone,” said Supervisor Das Williams. “I’m proud to have been a part of it and to have authored the enabling legislation that set the stage for this vote to take place today. And I look forward to continuing to work with the School District and community on future uses for the property.”
Santa Barbara Unified School District will now enter into a 60-day escrow process to secure keys to the property. The armory is being sold by the State of California “as is.” While the district is focused on acquisition efforts, it also studied the site to better understand any existing conditions which may affect later development and utilized the information in appraisal negotiations. This effort identified continuing presence of lead dust stemming from an indoor firing range, seismic issues relating to current structural building code requirements, and potential for soil liquefaction as well as historical landmark designations on certain portions of the property. Once the acquisition of the property is complete, the district will conduct a more thorough assessment of the exterior spaces and buildings.
Current Assemblymember, Monique Limón, facilitated several meetings with officials from the Department of General Services and ensured that the process was fair and transparent.
“As a student who walked by the Armory for years, a former school board member, and current State Representative, I am proud to have played a role in helping secure the purchase of the National Guard Armory for Santa Barbara Unified School District (SB Unified) by facilitating negotiation meetings between the State Department of General Services and SB Unified. However, there is no more important role than the one the voters of Goleta, Montecito and Santa Barbara played, who were an integral part in the acquisition and are worthy of our deep appreciation for their support on Measure I. The funding received from this bond is a testament to the investment our community is willing to make for our students to learn and grow. The Armory will be an important education site for our community.”
Goleta, Montecito and Santa Barbara voters passed Measure I in 2016, a $135 million bond measure specific to junior high and high school. As part of the proposal, $20 million of the bond was to be set aside for the acquisition and construction of the National Guard Armory. Any future use of the site will involve formal public engagement opportunities with community stakeholders to evaluate the many possible uses of the site for benefit of students.
About 2016 Bond Measure I: In November 2016, Santa Barbara Unified School District received $193 million of bond funds to invest in safe, modernized facilities throughout the district (elementary, junior high and high schools). Measure I, specific to junior high and high school, represented $135 million of the $193 million bond funds. As part of the bond proposal to voters within Santa Barbara Unified School District, $20 million of Measure I was set aside for the acquisition and construction of the National Guard Armory.