SMMUSD Clarifies Again That They Are Still Working on Proposal to Purchase and Rehab Civic Center


The following is a press release from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) continues to be interested in purchasing and rehabilitating the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium (Civic), currently owned by the City of Santa Monica (City.) The District has a sound plan to revitalize the Civic as a multi-use performance / event facility that respects its historic and community significance.

Since the District shared its plan for rehabilitating the Civic in September, other organizations and individuals have been vocal in their desire and claims to have the ability and resources to find another interested party who can restore and rehabilitate the Civic.

With this in mind, the District has decided to step aside in order to allow time and opportunity for alternative proposals to be made. While SMMUSD will not submit a proposal at this time, the District continues to have an interest in pursuing the purchase of the Civic, should another entity not surface.

“At this time, we are encouraging the City of Santa Monica to solicit and review all proposals from, and negotiate with, all persons or entities interested in acquiring the historic Civic Auditorium,” said Superintendent Dr. Antonio Shelton. “We truly believe that the purchase of the Civic by SMMUSD is a win-win for our students and the community with our plans to maintain the landmark designation and rehabilitate the deteriorating facility to its glory as a performance, event and sports venue.” 

The extensive feasibility study completed by SMMUSD demonstrates the potential and delineates the steps necessary to rehabilitate the Civic and makes clear the potential for this community gem to be restored to its glory, along with expanding the Samohi campus footprint, and reducing time and costs associated with the current plan limited to the existing campus.

“We agree that it is in the public’s best interest to step aside at this time so other proposals may be considered by the City,” said Shelton. “While the City has entertained prior proposals, it has been many years and this provides a renewed opportunity to expand their search for a potential buyer that meets the interests of the community. SMMUSD appreciates the ongoing partnership and collaborative spirit of this process.”

During this pause, SMMUSD will continue its pursuit of the current Samohi Campus Plan on the existing campus. If the City does not receive an acceptable offer from another entity within a reasonable time frame, the District will re-engage with the City to develop a proposal and explore a potential agreement.

SMMUSD Chief Operations Officer Carey Upton continues to meet with neighborhood associations, non-profit organizations, PTA and other parent groups to share the SMMUSD plan to purchase and rehabilitate the Civic. The presentation is available online.

SMMUSD continues to evolve, and with taxpayers’ support, school facilities are transforming into the progressive cutting-edge 21st-century learning spaces required to provide an exemplary education to students for generations to come.

Frequently Asked Questions: Civic Auditorium

Read more about SMMUSD campus planning here.

Watch the extensive video history of Santa Monica Schools here.

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