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Central-Wilson Campus to Receive New Name

New Central-Wilson Campus to be Posthumously Named for Civic Leader Rev. George Walker Smith
Posted on 03/05/2021
Rev. George Walker Smith, Credit of San Diego State University







New Central-Wilson Campus to be Posthumously Named for Civic Leader Rev. George Walker Smith


One year ago this weekend, San Diego bid farewell to beloved community leader, Rev. George Walker Smith, at his memorial service. On Sunday, Board of Education President Richard Barrera and Vice President Dr. Sharon Whitehurst-Payne will join the Smith family in announcing plans to name the brand new Central-Wilson campus in City Heights the “George Walker Smith Education Campus.” The name recommendation will be presented to the Board of Education during its regular meeting on Tuesday.


Sunday, March 7, 2021, 2:00 p.m. 


Zoom Webinar - click here to join the press conference.


Wilson Middle School Timelapse

Wilson New Campus Drone Aerials (Video)

Wilson Former Campus Demolition Drone Aerials (Video)

Future Central Elementary Renderings


Carolyn Smith, Daughter of Rev. George Walker Smith

Richard Barrera, Board of Education President, San Diego Unified

Dr. Sharon Whitehurst-Payne, Board of Education Vice President, San Diego Unified

Dr. Carl Luna, Director, University of San Diego Institute for Civil Civic Engagement


The first African-American elected to office in the City of San Diego, Rev. George Walker Smith joined the San Diego Unified Board of Education in 1963. During  his 16-year service to the Board of Education, Smith was a champion for equality, making it his mission to diversify the district by hiring African-American teachers.

Smith passed away on Feb. 15, 2020. Following his death, the board issued a proclamation in his honor on Feb. 25, 2020, recognizing his extraordinary efforts to lead the way towards equal education for all students in San Diego County and beyond, and proclaimed Feb. 28 as Rev. George Walker Smith Day in the San Diego Unified School District.

On April 24, 2018, and April 23, 2013, the board issued proclamations recognizing Rev. George Walker Smith for his lifelong commitment to provide equal educational opportunities for all students in San Diego County and beyond.


The Central Wilson Rebuild Project

At the new Wilson Middle School campus are seven new buildings, including a one-story student services facility with a health center, parent room, student services offices and support spaces; two two-story classroom buildings with science, special education, general purpose classrooms, food kiosks and support spaces; a three-story facility with a music program on the first floor, library and engineering classrooms on the second floor, and arts and support spaces on the third floor; a two-story building that has physical education on the first floor, and performing arts and a multi-purpose room on the upper floor; a two-story building with a food services area and an innovative three level parking structure that includes play courts on the top floor.

The main entrance to the new Wilson Middle School was moved from 39th Street to 37th Street along Orange Avenue. A new student drop-off and pick-up area, including a bus zone and an area for special education students, was also constructed.  Another bus drop-off and loading zone is provided along 37th St.

With the Wilson Middle School campus nearly completed, demolition of the former site is now underway. The demolition marks the start of another massive project to build a new Central Elementary School from the ground up.

The new Central Elementary campus will include 26 new general-purpose classrooms and 14 specialized classrooms, including kindergarten, preschool  and special education classrooms. Each of the general classrooms has access to an approximately 280 square-foot collaborative space designed for pull-out instruction. New academic support spaces include student services offices, a Library Learning Center, multipurpose room, daycare, and an after-school program.

The project also features a community clinic and health center. Additionally, three new play areas will be constructed. The first new play area is in a courtyard created by the kindergarten buildings and is dedicated to pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students. The second play area is in the center of the new campus and includes play equipment, a grass field; and basketball, volleyball and, four-square hardscape surfaces. The third play area is adjacent to the lunch shelter on the northwestern portion of the new campus and includes play equipment and hardscape surfaces.

Construction on the new Central Elementary School site will be completed in winter 2022. The district plans on using the existing site along Polk Avenue for teacher and employee housing.

San Diego Unified’s capital projects are funded by San Diego Unified School District’s Propositions S, Z and Measure YY, which are local bond measures approved by San Diego voters to repair, renovate and revitalize neighborhood schools.  Associated new building and facility signage will be funded with capitol bond funds Propositions S, Z, and Measure YY.


San Diego Unified Board of Education Meeting Agendas

Bond Projects Bring More Milestones, Transformations to City Heights

KPBS: San Diego Civic, Religious Leader Rev. George Walker Smith Dies


Jamie Ries, Facilities Communication Liaison, San Diego Unified619-855-9283; [email protected].