New performing arts, multi-purpose buildings planned for San Diego Jewish Academy in Carmel Valley

By Karen Billing

San Diego Jewish Academy is planning for a new 409-seat performing arts center and multi-purpose building. The buildings will take the place of a previously approved second gym.

The Carmel Valley Community Planning Board approved the new buildings at its May 21 meeting, on the condition that color renderings and material samples are presented to the board as the plans progress.

SDJA was founded in San Diego in 1979 and has been in Carmel Valley off Carmel Creek Road since 2000. Jeff Barfield, of RBF Consulting, said the campus has evolved since the master plan was developed and approved in 1999 — the original plans had been for the 48,000 square feet of land at the school to house a second gym.

Barfield said in reviewing the plan, SDJA deemed the second gym was not necessary anymore as its existing gym, which the school had always planned on being its smaller, second gym, has served all of the school’s needs.

The addition of the two buildings does nothing to change the campus’ footprint nor does it allow for a bigger school population, Barfield said.

The buildings will be accessed through a circular piazza-style motor court with decorative pavers. There will be a landscape buffer between the parking area and the Carmel Valley Restoration Enhancement Project (CVREP) trail.

The gym was planned to be 48-feet tall and while the performing arts center will be a similar height, it will be set back farther and, additionally, will be screened behind the 27-foot-tall multi-purpose building. As long as funding is available, Barfield said they also plan to do a series of retaining walls with flat planting areas to plant Torrey Pines and create a “Torrey Pines forest.”

“We think it’s a much better situation and much less visible from the CVREP trail,” Barfield said.

The building will use natural stone, cedar plank towers and earth tones with the goal of blending with the rest of the campus and the surrounding open space.