Chula Vista, Calif. (Sept. 7, 2022) – The City of Chula Vista is preparing to break ground on an $89 million, 168,000-square-foot Cinematic Arts Academic Center & Library project, which will be home to San Diego State University’s (SDSU) new, state-of-the art Television, Film and New Media Studios. The partnership will educate a new generation of aspiring film students from Chula Vista, southern California, and the world – realizing the shared vision of developing a multi-institutional university and innovation district in Chula Vista.
The cutting-edge facility will include the City’s first new library built since 1995, and it will fulfill a 19-year deficit of library space, as well as additional space that will be needed to accommodate population growth. The multi-use library will serve a larger vision of public, education and industry use. The building will be the first of its kind in San Diego County and is planned to include new soundstages, a digital screening theater and additional amenities to support cinematic innovation and excellence.
“We are grateful to Senator pro Tem Toni Atkins and Assemblymember David Alvarez for securing the funding to help launch the Chula Vista university and library development,” said Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas. “After decades of planning, we are ready to break ground with an SDSU program that will advance our vision for a 21st century university in the South Bay.”
The new Cinematic Arts Academic Center & Library will be located at 1775 Millenia Avenue, among the burgeoning master-planned community of Millenia in eastern Chula Vista. The expansion will result in the creation of much-needed and long-anticipated higher education access in a region that is currently without a prominent four-year, research-centered institution.
The $89 million project budget will be funded with $30 million in state funding and $59 million from the City of Chula Vista. Senate President pro Tem Toni Atkins secured $5 million in state funding for the acquisition and entitlement of the project site. Assemblymember David Alvarez secured an additional $25 million in state funding.
“Libraries open up a pathway to a lifetime love of reading and learning. Chula Vista has not had a new library constructed since 1995, so it is exciting to see the vision of that project expanded to include this joint venture between the City and our educational partners, which will also expand additional higher education opportunities in the South Bay region,” said Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego). “Thanks to California’s strong economy and tax revenues, the Legislature was able to make historic investments in educationally-related facilities, including $58 million for libraries in the San Diego region, in this year’s budget.”
“I am thrilled to provide $25 million in state funding for the development of a new library for Chula Vista along with the Television, Film and New Media Studios to be utilized by San Diego State University,” said Assemblymember David Alvarez (D-San Diego). “This is the first step toward making the Chula Vista University project a reality.”
The SDSU Television, Film and New Media Studios will include a 50,000-square-foot film and television teaching facility, containing sound stages, modern editing and mixing suites, new classrooms, meeting rooms, and administrative and faculty space. All will be equipped with the latest film and television technology.
“We are delighted to be part of this collaboration and to use SDSU’s renowned film and television program as the foundation of our formal presence in this vibrant South Bay neighborhood,” said SDSU President Adela de la Torre. “This builds on our 30-year commitment to the South Bay community and our longstanding partnership with the Sweetwater Union High School District. I am truly excited by what this will mean for our students, for our future, and for the economic impact this new film industry will drive in Chula Vista."
SDSU’s new expanded location will advance the art of independent filmmaking and will become the premiere academic destination for aspiring filmmakers worldwide. The facility also will be available for use by Southwestern College and industry partners.
“Southwestern College’s Film, Television & Media Arts program graduates dozens of talented students each year,” said Superintendent/President Dr. Mark Sanchez. “This project gives students a clear pathway to San Diego State University’s program in the community they live in. It will be transformative and a catalyst to turn what is currently a university desert into a thriving ecosystem of higher education to address inequities and generational poverty in our community.”
SDSU faculty and staff at the site will elevate the academic and hands-on experiences of students to an unprecedented level. With a unique focus on independent filmmaking, the SDSU Television, Film and New Media Studios is designed to prepare students in all aspects of film and television production, including writing, directing, cinematography, lighting, sound, editing, special effects, and more – to include the business aspects of independent filmmaking, such as finance, distribution and marketing.
SDSU has been a leader in film and television education for over 50 years, and has trained and graduated alumni who are now internationally known filmmakers and award-winning Hollywood executives, such asexecutive producer and president of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy, Coco producer Darla Anderson and director Destin Daniel Cretton, best known for the Marvel Studios film, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
San Diego County historically is considered one of the top three filming regions in California but has been without access to adequate production facilities. Chula Vista’s Cinematic Arts Academic Center & Library will provide advanced facilities to revolutionize the film and digital entertainment industries. The new expansion also will dramatically increase placement opportunities for SDSU students entering the film and television production industry by providing them with opportunities to graduate with an already accomplished film portfolio.
Leaders plan to break ground on the Cinematic Arts Academic Center & Library site in 2023 and complete by 2025.
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Editors’ Note: Hi-res renderings of the Cinematic Arts Academic Center & Library are available at chulavistaca.gov/university.
About Chula Vista
The City of Chula Vista is the second-largest city in San Diego County with a population of 277,220. Chula Vista boasts more than 50 square miles of coastal landscape, rolling hills, quality parks, and miles of trails. The City is a leader in conservation and renewable energy, has outstanding public schools, and has been named one of the top safest cities in the country. Established neighborhoods, contemporary communities, innovative startups, corporations, a U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site, and historic downtown contribute to Chula Vista’s attraction for both families and businesses. A promising future includes developing the 535-acre Chula Vista Bayfront, planning for a new university on 400 acres and implementing Smart City technology citywide. Find us on @thinkchulavista or www.chulavistaca.gov
About San Diego State University
San Diego State University is a major public research institution that provides transformative experiences for its more than 36,000 students. SDSU offers bachelor’s degrees in 96 areas, master’s degrees in 84 fields and doctorates in 23 areas, with additional certificates and programs at regional microsites. SDSU ranks as the number 1 California State University in federal research support, as one of the top public research universities in California. In addition to academic offerings at SDSU, SDSU Imperial Valley and SDSU Georgia, SDSU Global Campus offers online training, certificates and degrees in areas of study designed to meet the needs of students everywhere. Students participate in transformational research, international experiences, sustainability and entrepreneurship initiatives, internships and mentoring, and a broad range of student life and leadership opportunities. SDSU is committed to inclusive excellence and is known for its efforts in advancing diversity and inclusion. SDSU is nationally recognized for its study abroad initiatives, veterans’ programs and support of LGBTQA+ students, as well as its powerhouse Division I Athletics Program. More than 50% of SDSU’s undergraduate and graduate students are students of color. The university resides on Kumeyaay land and was most recently recognized as an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI). SDSU is also a long-standing Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). The university’s rich campus life and location offers opportunities for students to lead and engage with the creative and performing arts, career and internship opportunities with SDSU’s more than 491,000 living alumni, and the vibrant cultural life of the greater San Diego and U.S.- Mexico region.