April 24, 2013
SAN DIEGO, CA – April 24, 2013 – Monarch School will soon be able to serve its students in a whole new way. The new Monarch School Nat & Flora Bosa Campus for children impacted by homelessness celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony today. The new school, located just south of Petco Park, at 1625 Newton Avenue, is five times the size of the school’s current facility and will allow the school to double enrollment, maximizing educational opportunities for children affected by homelessness in San Diego.
“This celebration recognizes more than a decade of work by committed and dedicated individuals who have made this campus a reality,” said Erin Spiewak, Monarch School CEO.
It is with great pride that we celebrate this accomplishment, while also looking towards the future at what we can now offer our students.
The Nat & Flora Bosa Campus will allow for enrollment of up to 350 students. The remodeled two-story 51,000-square-foot facility is located on 2.2 acres and offers separate classrooms for each grade level, a science lab, library, literacy and tutoring centers, health clinic, career center, spaces for music instruction and performing arts, and an auditorium that will serve as cafeteria, gymnasium and event space. The site also features playgrounds, outdoor recreation areas, and a student garden, giving Monarch students’ new opportunities to learn and grow.
At Monarch’s current facility, about 150 students and 50 staff members are crowded into 10,000 square feet. Children have been turned away because the school is operating at maximum capacity. Classrooms are doubled up with two grade levels each, tutoring is held in the hallway and lobby, and a small outdoor courtyard next to downtown transit lines serves as a cafeteria, playground, study hall and auditorium. Monarch is a K-12 public school operating through a partnership between the nonprofit Monarch School Project and the San Diego County Office of Education. Monarch began as a drop-in center for homeless youth opened in 1987 and was staffed by a single teacher. The nonprofit was later formed to provide support for the school.
“Monarch is a school that the community has really embraced, and we see that clearly with the new site,” said Dr. Randy Ward, San Diego County Superintendent of Schools. “The new site allows the school’s focus to be on educating children to be successful in the 21st century global workplace, not on juggling competing needs for space.”
The number of homeless children in the county has increased from 15,000 in 2011 to more than 18,000 this year, according to the San Diego County Office of Education. The Nat & Flora Bosa Campus is in recognition of the need for expansion in order to serve the region’s growing number of homeless students.
Through years of planning and fundraising, the nonprofit Monarch School Project raised $15 million to build the new school and considered various locations before selecting the Barrio Logan property. Groundbreaking took place in February 2012, and two months later Monarch received its largest gift ever, a $5 million donation from local philanthropists Nat and Flora Bosa, resulting in the campus name.
“An investment in the children of our community is the best investment I could make,” said Nat Bosa, local philanthropist and CEO of Bosa Development. “Monarch’s students are just like any other children and yet they face challenges most of us cannot even comprehend. They deserve a school facility that can give them the tools they need to succeed. My wife and I are thrilled to be a part of the Monarch School family and to help these children and our community break the cycle of homelessness.”
Renovations are nearly complete on the two-story Newton Avenue building that once housed the San Diego Housing Commission and has served as the city’s temporary homeless shelter. Monarch purchased the Newton Avenue building from Civic San Diego, formerly Center City Development Corporation, and financed the renovation with private donations and lending from Opus Bank, Clearinghouse CDFI, United Fund Advisors, and City National Bank.