A group of residents who have expressed frustration with the pace of development in San Marcos said the City Council’s recent approval a 220-home development on Twin Oaks Valley Road is the final straw.The group of residents plans to pursue a referendum to reverse the council’s 4-1 approval of Brookfield Residential Properties’ proposal, which would re-zone about 23 acres near the southwest corner of Twin Oaks Valley Road and Village Drive — just south of Cal State San Marcos — from commercial to residential to pave the way for the new homes. Residents packed council chambers on Jan. 23 to urge the council to vote against the second reading of the ordinance approving the project. The council had voted two weeks earlier to approve the first reading.They said that the city is approving residential development at a much faster pace than the infrastructure needed to support it, pointing to overcrowding at San Marcos’ schools and congestion on key roads and State Highway 78 as evidence.“It’s the next development on the docket and we are fed up,” said Kelly Shipley, one of the chief organizers of the opposition. “What we want to see is development with infrastructure to support it.”Their message to the council was clear: slow down.
San Marcos and CSUSM join forces to benefit the community
As North County’s education hub, San Marcos is building tomorrow’s workforce—and thanks to a new initiative, some of that homegrown talent is being channeled to help city staff better serve the community.
The City and Cal State San Marcos (CSUSM) recently joined forces to launch Democracy in Action, a pilot program that lets students spend a semester working on city projects.
“Some of the region’s brightest minds are on that campus, right down the street from City Hall, so this partnership felt like a natural win win,” said Economic Development Manager Tess Radmill, who helped oversee the effort.
Over the past few months, about 100 students tackled projects that included: finding ways to curb unnecessary 911 calls; developing a marketing plan for the Double Peak Challenge race; analyzing data to help reduce stormwater pollution; and creating a promotional video about the city.
Already, the project has delivered tangible benefits. For example, students created a trash collection map that will help staff meet new environmental state guidelines. And the video produced by students is already being used to attract potential businesses and residents.
“We’re also graduating students who leave with a deeper understanding of a how a local community works—and with that, they can influence outcomes down the road,” explains Scott Gross, CSUSM Associate Vice President of Community Partnership Engagement.
Fostering civic minded graduates is especially important to the region because many stay local after graduation. In fact, about 80 percent of CSUSM alumni continue living in the region. By comparison, about 60 percent of San Diego State University (SDSU) alumni stay local—and the same is true for only about 25 percent of University of California San Diego (UCSD) alumni.
Democracy in Action was inspired by the University of Oregon’s Sustainable City Year Program— which works in largely the same way, but focuses on boosting sustainability. CSUSM liked the concept, but felt it was important to focus instead on civic engagement.
“We wanted students to realize they can inform and impact their local government,” Gross said. “They’re not just sitting in a classroom talking about theories—they’re actually putting their knowledge to work in a meaningful way, and their eyes light up.”
CSUSM student Kristina Kalchev is a testament to that.
“It was great working on a project that extends beyond an assignment and impacts people,” said Kalchev, who worked on the city’s promotional video. “I’m proud to include the video in my reel. I don’t feel so fresh out of the water now. I feel ready for the workforce.”
Kalchev plans to stay in San Marcos and earn her graduate degree while working locally. She says as a San Marcos resident, she now has a deeper appreciation for what the city does.
“We were able to see how much city staff does behind the scenes to keep our community safe. The project really opened my eyes to what local government does,” she said.
Storm Water Program Manager Reed Thornberry also saw a ha moments happening when he took students out into the field.
“I wanted to take them beyond the data. A lot them live in San Marcos—some have even grown up here—but they’ve never explored our creek system,” he said. “They spotted bullfrogs, turtles and crawfish—entire ecosystems thriving. And seeing the impacts of trash, they got a sense of why they’re worth protecting. I think that drove home the mission.”
These students will be among the approximately 3,000 graduates CSUSM produces every year— which is partly why San Marcos is North County’s education hub. In fact, San Marcos is responsible for about 10 percent of the region’s total academic program completions.
“San Marcos is fueling a workforce pipeline that will strengthen our region for generations to come,” said San Marcos City Manager Jack Griffin. “But beyond that, our partnership with Cal State San Marcos underscores how we can collaborate to benefit our community, and we are proud of that.”
To learn more about the Democracy in Action program,
Housing and business stock are on the rise, and there’s still plenty of potential for growth
In recent years, San Marcos has seen household incomes grow and the already low unemployment rate fall. At the same time, the city is home to high-paying industries and universities that are a pipeline for regional talent.
Those are among the takeaways of a recently released City of San Marcos Regional Profile, which demonstrates with comprehensive data sets the city’s momentum in key economic and education areas.
The regional profile encompasses four sections: demographics, socioeconomics, the housing market and the economy, with major findings that include:
Household income grew by 8.9 percent each year from 2011 to 2015, greatly outpacing the region’s rate of 1.4 percent;
The unemployment rate of 2.9 percent continues to be low, and historical unemployment data show the city weathered the Great Recession better than the region, state and nation;
San Marcos boasts 4,000 businesses, up 10 percent from a decade ago. Local firms’ resiliency in the face of the Great Recession has been a key to San Marcos’ status as an economic powerhouse;
As North County’s education hub, San Marcos produces 10 percent of the San Diego region’s total academic program completions, with the lion’s share coming from Cal State San Marcos and Palomar College;
Higher-than-average median wages can be found in three high-paying industries: manufacturing, wholesale trade and information; and
Between 2010 and 2015 housing stock grew by 10.1 percent—San Marcos has more opportunities for development than other regional cities.
“The numbers in the regional profile tell the story: San Marcos’ growing reputation as a great place to live, work and play is well deserved. Not only do we have 40,000 jobs, an annual GDP totaling $7.9 billion and stellar educational institutions, but the community also boasts 72 miles of multi-use trails, 300 acres of park space, 240 restaurants and eight breweries,” said Economic Development Manager Tess Radmill.
As for the work piece of that trio, the City bolstered its business-friendly reputation through proactive economic development, which in 2012 the City Council prioritized in response to the tough economy and the end of redevelopment funding. City efforts thus far have included cutting red tape from the development approval process and there is recognition that there is room for more improvement.
Also part of this commitment to improving business is the regional profile itself, the City’s first such snapshot that will shape future economic development initiatives.
“This profile provides clarity and insight into San Marcos’ regional strengths, in addition to identifying the fundamental drivers of the local economy,” said Kirby Brady, the San Diego Regional EDC’s Director of Research. “It is clear that the city is an economic powerhouse with a diverse economic base, a highly-educated and talented workforce, and opportunities for growth.”
To review the full regional profile, visit www.san-marcos.net/regionalprofile.
Expect traffic delays expected for the next two weekends
San Marcos, CA— Springtime in North County’s education hub means one thing—San Marcos students are getting ready to graduate.
With Cal State San Marcos hosting commencement ceremonies Friday, May 19 and Saturday, May 20 and Palomar hosting commencement on Friday, May 26, I-15 and SR-78 travelers can expect increased traffic delays around the college areas.
While the increase in traffic congestion is familiar to city residents, students and commuters alike, the City of San Marcos is pleased to report that continued relief is on the way.
In the city’s ongoing efforts to get motorists moving and improve traffic flow, several roadway improvement projects are lined up over the next five years.
Planned projects include upgrades to the Traffic Management Center (TMC)’s server and software, traffic signal equipment, as well as communication lines between the TMC and the traffic signals. In addition to improved staff and equipment response times to changing traffic conditions, these enhancements will allow traffic signals to handle more complex intersection configuration conditions.
During graduation season and periods of roadway construction, drive with caution and provide ample time to reach your destination safely and on time.
Open Enrollment Now Available for CSUSM Summer Term
Open enrollment is now available for Summer Term classes at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) which incorporates over 100 courses in a wide range of fields and disciplines. Students from other colleges and universities, qualified high school seniors, and community members can register for classes in everything from chemistry to women’s studies. Credits from CSUSM Summer Term courses are fully transferrable to other accredited colleges and universities in the United States. For students already enrolled at CSUSM, and for high school or community college students who may be interested in CSUSM, up to 24 units can be counted toward a CSUSM degree.
“Many college students find it hard to graduate in four years, especially if they have difficulty enrolling in a required course,” says Mike Schroder, Dean of Extended Learning and Associate Vice President of Global Programs and Services at CSUSM. “CSUSM Summer Term is the perfect opportunity for students from any college or university to pick up the credits that gets them closer to completing their degree.”
Whether students are looking for prerequisites for higher-level classes, core curriculum offerings, or degree-specific classes, they can likely find what they need among the summer offerings at CSUSM. College-bound high school seniors can also get a jump on their freshman year by getting introductory courses and general education requirements under their belts.
CSUSM Summer Term 2017 runs from June 5 to August 12. The first block runs from June 5 to July 8 and the second block runs from July 10 to August 12. To learn more, call Extended Learning at 760-750-4004, or visit www.csusm.edu/el/summer17.
About CSUSM Extended Learning As the academic outreach arm of Cal State San Marcos, Extended Learning is a leading provider of professional and continuing education in North San Diego and Southwest Riverside Counties. We offer degree programs and both academic credit and non-credit professional development courses, as well as career-based certificate programs, helping individuals and organizations achieve their educational and training goals. For more information about Extended Learning at CSUSM please visit http://www.csusm.edu/el/.
Back to School Update from The City of San Marcos.
As the summer winds down, San Marcos students are headed back to school. With elementary, middle and high schools along with Cal State San Marcos and Palomar College back in session this month, I-15 and SR-78 travelers can expect increased traffic delays during their daily commute.
While the increase in traffic congestion is familiar to city residents, students and commuters alike, the City of San Marcos is pleased to report that relief is on the way. In the city’s ongoing efforts to get motorists moving and improve traffic flow, several roadway improvement projects are nearing completion.
More than $3 million of construction projects are being completed this fall to improve the Rancho Santa Fe Road and other streets throughout San Marcos. During construction, businesses in the area will remain open and those directly affected by the improvement projects will receive notice of scheduled work.
During the school year and periods of roadway construction, drive with caution and set those alarm clocks a little earlier to provide ample time to reach your destination safely and on time.
City of San Marcos hosts a successful biennial Education Forum
San Marcos education leaders celebrate ten years of partnership
SAN MARCOS – The leaders of the three major educational institutions in San Marcos — the state university, community college and school district — described how expanded educational partnerships, strong enrollment growth and dramatic campus construction have marked the evolution of San Marcos as a regional education hub over the past 10 years at a biennial educational forum Wednesday hosted by the City of San Marcos.
Dr. Karen Haynes, president of California State University San Marcos; Adrian Gonzales, interim president of Palomar College, and Dr. Kevin Holt, superintendent of the San Marcos Unified School District reviewed accomplishments over the past ten years since the forum’s establishment and detailed how collaborative programs linked to the City or education partners have helped reach bold milestones.
Over that period, the number of students at California State University San Marcos has doubled to about 14,000, making it California’s fastest-growing state university said President Karen Haynes. In the San Marcos Unified School District, from elementary school through high school, about 21,000 students are being taught, up from about 16,000 in 2005, said Superintendent Kevin Holt. Interim President Adrian Gonzales noted that Palomar College offers educational opportunities to more than 23,000 students.
Mayor Jim Desmond described the city’s sponsorship as “a conscious effort to embrace our educational community” with a goal of “providing skills for the workplace of the future.”
With many school board members, trustees, city council members and the general public in attendance, the forum, “Making the Grade: In Just Ten Years,” for the first time was held at the campus of the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in San Marcos. The private university, which specializes in graduate training for occupational and physical therapy, expanded to San Marcos in 2009 and also has campuses in St. Augustine, Florida, and Austin, Texas. President Wanda Nitsch moderated the forum.
Partnership was a key theme in describing how the school district, community college and state university work together to encourage and insure that students graduating from San Marcos high schools have a supportive pathway to higher education.
Superintendent Holt pointed out that the Pace Promise program guarantees every graduating senior who meets entry level requirements a spot in the entering class at Cal State San Marcos. “We live in a community that prioritizes higher education for kids,” he said.
President Haynes noted that such a guarantee is increasingly important as the number of applications for the freshman class has continued to go up, making admission more difficult. The current entering class had 19,000 applications for 2,500 slots, she said.
Holt also detailed efforts to reach out to San Marcos high school students through the GEAR UP program with Palomar College to provide workshops on preparing for and getting into college, including help to pay for all SMUSD 10th and 11th grade PSAT tests, an important early round test in the admissions process.
Gonzales noted also that the college is working with the district to help students who take a senior year math course to transition into college algebra.
Gonzales then described the achievements of Palomar College as a “hidden secret in San Marcos,” from its planetarium, the fifth-largest in the state, to its 22 varsity athletic teams, its student radio station ranked as No. 1 in the country, its debate team ranked nationally, and its standing as one of the top three colleges in the nation in graduating Hispanic students.
Haynes, too, touted the accomplishments of Cal State San Marcos in serving minority students, noting that for the third year in a row, more than half of graduating students were the first in their families to achieve a four-year degree.
Over the past 10 years, the most visible accomplishments have been the construction of new buildings, helped with funding from major, voter-approved bond measures for the San Marcos Unified School District and Palomar College.
San Marcos High School, now a modern landmark on San Marcos Boulevard, opened in 2014 and Double Peaks School, the district’s first kindergarten through eighth grade school, is set to open next August. Palomar College is beginning work on a new library and learning center. And a 1,400-seat multipurpose arena now under construction is set to open next fall at Cal State San Marcos.
While school funding has stabilized across the state with the rebound of the economy, Haynes said Cal State San Marcos plans to reach out with its first comprehensive fund-raising campaign. She said that 85 percent of the alumni stay in the region and that the university generates hundreds of millions of dollars for the local economy.
“Cal State San Marcos is now an investment in our region,” she said.
Honing in on the link between economic development and education, Mayor Jim Desmond detailed major developments close to the university and college campuses that are bringing new housing and businesses and continue to interconnect road improvements and SPRINTER transit stations to make the community a place where people can thrive in both education and career.
“San Marcos is a place where you can go from kindergarten to graduate school to employee,” Desmond said. “By partnering together, we are fostering a friendly, collaborative city that embraces our role as the education hub of North County.”
As the summer winds down, San Marcos students are headed back to school. With elementary, middle and high schools along with Cal State San Marcos and Palomar College back in session later this month, I-15 and SR-78 travelers can expect increased traffic delays during their daily commute.
While the increase in traffic congestion is familiar to city residents, students and commuters alike, the City of San Marcos is pleased to report that continued relief is on the way.
In the city’s ongoing efforts to get motorists moving and improve traffic flow, several roadway improvement projects are lined up over the next year. Planned projects include resurfacing of Rancho Santa Fe Road and annual pavement repair work throughout the community. New traffic signals slated for the intersections of Borden Road, Richland Road and Rose Ranch Road will also provide safer routes to Richland Elementary School.
During the school year and periods of roadway construction, drive with caution and provide ample time to reach your destination safely and on time.
CSUSM President Karen Haynes joined administrators and athletes at the university Monday to celebrate the ground-breaking of the campus’ $11.5 million sports center, which is scheduled to open in August 2016. The 25,000-square-foot center, paid for through student fees, will give a true home court for the men’s and women’s basketball teams and the women’s volleyball team. READ MORE via CSUSM breaks ground on new sports center. | UTSanDiego.com.