San Diego Unified Breaks Ground on Pacific Beach Elementary Renovations, Field Expansion

Pacific Beach Elementary
Students, city and school officials broke ground Tuesday on the Pacific Beach Elementary modernization. San Diego Unified photo

Students from Pacific Beach Elementary School joined city and San Diego Unified School District leaders Tuesday to celebrate the start of construction on a site modernization and joint-use field expansion project.

According to the district, the project will bring students a new kindergarten building, a grass playfield, a secure main campus entryway, renovated classrooms and shade shelters.

“I’m excited; the students are excited; the community is excited,” Pacific Beach Elementary Principal Jennifer Grondek said. “We’ve been planning these together and now it’s time to see our vision come to life.”

The kindergarten facility will include modern classrooms and collaborative workspaces that lead out to a new play structure with a shade shelter. A second shade shelter will be installed in the general play area.

All existing classrooms, the student services facility and the multipurpose room will be renovated and all restrooms and the school kitchen will be upgraded. To make room for these new facilities, all portable classrooms will be removed.

“It’s a win-win for our students and the community of North Pacific Beach,” said Cody Petterson, Board of Education Trustee for the SDUSD. “Students will have high-quality indoor and outdoor facilities that will encourage them to learn, work, and play together — before, during and after school.”

First opened in 1930, Pacific Beach Elementary began with just one campus building, then added an additional building in 1938. Five additional buildings were added from 1940-57. In 1976, the 1930s buildings were replaced by one building, with five buildings constructed for the former Los Altos Child Development Center. At that time, three portable classrooms were added due to the increased student population.

In 2004, a 1.8-acre joint-use field along Turquoise Street was created for student and public use. According to the district, when complete, the expanded 2.8-acre joint-use area will include a walking and running track, a renovated basketball court, play equipment, new trees and benches, a drinking fountain, secure perimeter fencing and a public access gate.

“Here in Pacific Beach, we are meeting the community’s need for additional recreation space while delivering active play areas for the students,” San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava said. “Together, the school district and the city are delivering community spaces here in Pacific Beach and across the city for generations of students and families to come.”

The joint-use area will be accessible to the community as a local park after school hours and during school breaks.

The project is anticipated to be completed in late 2025.

City News Service contributed to this article.