In an email to a constituent, city administrator Elizabeth Camacho clarified that a public comment period did not extend until May 1, as was originally implied by the city's website.
"It is confusing," Camacho wrote to the constituent. "While May 1st is the deadline for synthesizing and analyzing all of the feedback, it is not the deadline for community collaboration. Originally, the deadline was yesterday. We have extended it. It now closes on Wednesday, April 25th."
As part of its ongoing effort to solicit community input, the city hosted an in-person event today at the Chavez Center, where representatives from five design teams laid out their vision for the former campus.
Two other events, one held yesterday and another to be held at the Southside Library on April 15, have only been open to a limited number of neighbors of SFUAD, who had to reserve their spots in advance.
At the Chavez Center, the five teams staked out space in a community room, presenting placards to small groups of people who rotated around to presenters for each team. All of them emphasized the same sort of uses based on feedback from the public surveys, but each had different timelines and layouts. Most also wanted to include tenants who could provide post-secondary educational courses, but none of the teams have a specific school or institution in mind yet.
One design, called "Midtown Fusion" by the architectural firm Autotroph, wants to "fuse together different types of businesses, organizations and people," according to Alexander Dzurec, a principal for the firm. Part of the challenge of doing so, he said, was that the land at SFUAD was owned by various interests (the city, the state, Santa Fe Public Schools and the federal government), but Dzurec said at least three of them had an interest in making good use of the space.
Another design team called their vision "Watershed," and patterned their renovation effort off the way water works its way into an ecosystem. The team sees incubator businesses and "permanent economic opportunities" in the area within five years' time, but before that, it favors a "lingering" and "meandering" approach where semi-permanent tenants can use the buildings for improvised communal purposes.
The "Midtown Motion" design, by Spear Horn Architects, wants to develop buildings in a Spanish Colonial (not Pueblo Revival) style, with courtyards, roof decks and patios, surrounding green pedestrian space. The area would be nicknamed "MIDMO," in the vein of long-ago gentrified areas like SoHo in New York City that put a premium on pedestrian walkways.
An "ecodistrict" team, building off such districts in other cities like Denver and Austin, would emphasize sustainability, installing solar panels so that the campus generates all its own power and putting a premium on clustered transit, housing and businesses in order to reduce vehicular traffic. The design would propose adding a connection from Camino Carlos Rey through state and Santa Fe Public School properties, and adding a transit station for three city bus routes. A fiber-optic loop would also run through the former campus.
A final idea, from Atkin Olshin Schade Architects and MASS Design, emphasizes SFUAD's location as a central city node, and intends to "heal the wounds of decades of short-sighted planning" on the campus by, among other methods, creating a large green park that would connect the central of the campus directly to Cerrillos Road, in an effort to better suture the north and south sides of the city. Like some of other designs, it would seek to put mixed-use apartment buildings in place that would include 200 new traditional apartments and 50 live-work units.
The meeting at the Chavez Center picked up where the public surveys administered by the city left off. In total, 2,234 surveys were completed since January. Assuming each one represents one person, this accounts for 2.6 percent of Santa Fe's population, most of whom voted by bubbling from a set of pre-chosen options. A smaller number also left comments.
The majority of respondents (65 percent) were white, while only 17 percent were Hispanic, 3 percent were Native American, and people of "other" races were 6 percent. More self-identifying women responded than other genders.
And even though the campus has served young people for decades, the people who contributed ideas for its future use weren't young: 48.22 percent were 55 and older.
According to survey results, the most popular uses for the space included maintaining and expanding the Greer Garson Theatre, Garson Studios and the Fogelson Library, housing for whichever workforce teams would be spending a lot of time on campus like film crews, and an undefined "tech hub."
Secondary ideas were combined living and working spaces, open area, and an "E-Ship ecosystem." Few people were apparently enthusiastic about transforming the campus into a dog park, city government or private business offices, or retail stores.
The ideas people left were also divided into five broad themes, including higher education, a center for entrepreneurship, film and emerging media, a new city center with services for all ages and income levels, and an arts center with emphasis on performing arts space.
The city sees the reimagined campus as a "catalyst" for its Midtown Local Innovation Corridor Overlay District, which aims to put more residential housing, businesses and pedestrian-friendly architecture in the center of town.
The city website says anybody unable to make it to one of the in-person meetings can leave feedback online, but at publication time, the city had yet to post a link to give feedback on its website. The public can give feedback online until April 18.
The next step is for a panel of "10-20 thoughtful influencers" to analyze the designs and feedback attached to them, which will lead the city to pick a design and draft a final report for public review. There is no set timeline for this, but the city says it will create a website where all of this information will be housed.