19th Avenue Campus FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
We are in the process of purchasing the 19th Avenue campus from the Sisters of Mercy and then the work begins. Once we close on the purchase, we will work over the next two school years to finalize the financial and logistics details, which include fundraising and exiting lease and partnership agreements at our four existing campus and office locations.
Below are answers to many of the initial questions that community members have about the 19th Avenue campus project. Question not answered below? We invite community members to submit their query via this Google Form.
What are the benefits to moving to the 19th Avenue campus? How will the 19th Avenue campus enhance teaching and learning at CAIS?
Uniting all CAIS students on one campus, which we own, will allow us to make decisions that we haven’t been able to imagine on our current campuses. The 5.38 acre campus includes academic facilities; a 19,595 square foot fine arts building, which features a contemporary live theatre stage with approximately 455 seats, an art studio with kiln, and a dance studio; a multi-purpose athletic facility with a full size indoor basketball court, and locker rooms, as well as tennis courts, where we’d like to build a turf field.
How do the classroom spaces compare with current classrooms?
Classrooms are significantly larger, which provides a flexibility that will support a wider variety of pedagogies.
Will all grades/divisions move to the new campus? At the same time?
Yes, all grades will be on the same campus together. It is possible that we will move divisions in phases; there are many factors involved, and we need to do more studying and planning.
When will the 19th Avenue campus be ready for occupation?
Conservatively 2023-2024 school year, possibly with a phased approach. Stay tuned!
The campus was a high school. What needs to be done to accommodate ECD and Lower School students?
We will need to move age- and size-appropriate furniture to the 19th Avenue campus. Some of the first floor spaces / classrooms will need to be reconfigured to accommodate Preschool and Kindergarten classrooms, which will include bathrooms inside the classrooms. We will also need to add some additional staircases going from the second floor to the first floor to allow First and Second Grade classrooms on the second floor to meet fire codes. Some work will need to be done in the restrooms on the second and third floors. We will also need to install age-appropriate playground structures, and create separate outdoor spaces designated for Preschool students.
On a separate note, once we make changes to the interior spaces, for permitting purposes, we may need to also make some ADA improvements.
Does this mean CAIS will increase enrollment?
The campus would support a higher enrollment, and we will study ways in which we might do this without negatively impacting the current level of attention and care we provide our students.
Will CAIS operate a cafeteria and feed the students and teachers?
We have not yet gone into that level of planning, but since the site has a fully functioning commercial grade kitchen along with cafeteria serving lines, there is a strong opportunity to implement such service.
Will CAIS be adding Athletics teams/options?
We don’t know yet, but we will be exploring the best ways to make use of the new facilities for sports, after school programs, and summer camp in the years to come.
Does CAIS plan to open a high school on the 19th Avenue campus?
There are no plans to develop a high school at this time.
My main concern is the increased commute for our family to get to school. Will the school consider providing transportation/ buses for kids within the city and/or from across the Bay?
We understand! We will study where our community is traveling from to reach the 19th Avenue Campus to determine what kind of demand there is for a school provided service. We’ll also seek advice from other independent schools who have considered offering such a service. As soon as we know more, we will share it with you.
How will you secure the campus?
CAIS will employ our own security team. We will engage a security consultancy to advise us on decisions.
How will students travel to and from BART and MUNI?
Muni’s M Oceanview light rail has a stop at 19th Avenue and Winston Drive about a block south of the site. Muni’s K Ingleside has a stop at Ocean Avenue and Junipero Serra Boulevard, about a block north of the site.
Are you worried that some families and teachers will leave CAIS because the 19th Avenue location is inconvenient to them?
We are hopeful that the benefits of moving to an all-inclusive, single campus site—with a significant increase in indoor and outdoor teaching spaces—will create an increased sense of community which will more than compensate for any inconvenience of moving to this new location. While the driving distance from the East Bay is slightly farther than our existing campuses, traffic and parking are better. For people coming from Peninsula, it’s much easier to get to this campus than Hayes Valley.
Could CAIS have informed families and prospective families of this potential development earlier?
It has long been the goal of CAIS to reunite all academic divisions on one campus. We reaffirmed this commitment in Reimagining CAIS—Our Strategic Vision for 2020-2025. Our long term goal to Reimagine Our Learning Spaces emphasized working toward a future where “CAIS has long term control of its facilities. Our campus is designed and built to support current and future programs that have a transformative impact on learning, community, and culture.” Of course, finding suitable and affordable facilities in the San Francisco area is not easy and we’ve pursued several opportunities that haven’t turned out to be suitable. While it was tempting to tell parents every time we found space that might work, it would have been disconcerting for us to share such scenarios prematurely with our French American neighbors, or our landlords Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep and the First Baptist Church who own our ECD facility on Waller.
How will CAIS pay for this new campus? Will you launch a capital campaign? Will I be asked for a gift?
The purchase and renovations will be accomplished through a combination of long-term debt financing, selling or leasing our interest in the 150 Oak campus, financial reserves, and a capital campaign.
Will tuition be increased to pay for the new campus?
There are a number of factors to take into account, but the Board may consider phasing in a Facility Fee to cover the incremental costs of running a 120,000 square foot, 5.38 acre campus that is significantly larger than our current facilities.
What happens to the Preschool campus on Waller, the 150 Oak St. campus and the 888 Campus?
We are on a rolling lease at Waller and will inform our landlord of our plans to move out. We will either sublet the 888 Campus or negotiate a lease termination with our landlord. We will either sell or lease our interest in the 150 Oak campus.
What is the estimated goal and timeline for the capital campaign? What is the estimated amount of the new facility fee and when will that go into effect?
We are still determining how much we are comfortable borrowing from the bank. We know that the more we raise from philanthropic gifts from the community, the less of a burden there will be on the operating budget for the future. While the Board of Trustees has voted to proceed with a capital campaign, the goal will evolve over time. We also have much planning to do before determining when, if, and how much we may need to charge for a facility fee.