Fate of El Cerrito Open House Senior Center Uncertain

The following article is by Marjorie Fujioka, who teaches in the West Contra Costa Adult Education ( WCCAE) Older Adult program.  WCCAE has a program at the El Cerrito Open House Senior Center. The City of El Cerrito has approved the demolition of the senior center and adjacent library, both of which are located on property belonging to West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD).  WCCUSD needs the land because Fairmont School is being rebuilt.  There are plans to move the library to a new site, but so far the there has been no mention of plans for the senior center.

The Facilities Subcommittee meeting mentioned in Marjorie’s article is past, but the school board meeting mentioned is probably the upcoming March 16 school board meeting. School board meetings begin at 6:30 PM, and are held at Lovonya DeJean Middle School, 3400 Macdonald Ave. in Richmond.

Marjorie Fujioka’s article follows:

Need to question future of El Cerrito Open House Senior Center, the site for El Cerrito seniors on week days and West Contra Costa Adult Ed senior center 9 a.m to 3 p.m. on the first and third Saturdays of each month.

According to an article in THE JOURNAL on March 4, 2016, the El Cerrito City Council has approved a proposal to West Contra Costa Unified School District for the demolition of the current El Cerrito Library and the adjoining El Cerrito Open House senior center.  Endorsed is a plan to move the El Cerrito Library to the temporary Koremstsu Middle school campus.  Then portable classrooms would be placed to the north of the library parking lot for a temporary Fairmont School while a new Fairmont School is being built.  A meeting will be held to discuss this at a West Contra Cost Facilities subcommittee on March 8 and to a full school board meeting shortly after.  The current site is owned by the district but used for public services for the city and the district.  The final plan would trade the site of El Cerrito’s current 67-year-old library and adjoining El Cerrito Open House senior center at 6500 Stockton Avenue next to the Fairmont campus to the district for the Korematsu parcel located at 1021 Navellier Street with a 50-year lease at nominal cost.  The library and adjoining senior center when demolished would allow more space for a new Fairmont School campus.

A $30 million construction bond measure for the library is planned for the November ballot but no specific details are included for the senior center.  Fairmont school is 10th on a school district priority list but has 140 percent usage and West Contra Costa Costa Facilities Master Plan is still in the development stages.

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