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California Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins Announces $35 Million State Grant to Renovate Historic Educational Cultural Complex Theatre during News Conference

September 28, 2021

Coretta Scott King visits the Educational Cultural Complex Theater in 1983. In the early 1980s, the ECC Theater was a focal point for community efforts to establish Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a federal holiday.California Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins pledged a $35 million renovation grant in July to restore the historic theatre inside the San Diego College of Continuing Education's Educational Cultural Complex (ECC) as part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2021-22 State Budget. 

On Friday, October 1, 2021, from 11:00 a.m. to 11:35 a.m., a news conference will be held in front of the Educational Cultural Complex (4343 Ocean View Blvd, San Diego, CA 92113) to announce the $35 million state grant.

Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins and California Assemblymembers Lorena Gonzalez and Chris Ward will present a check to the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) Chancellor Carlos O. Turner Cortez, Ph.D., on behalf of the College of Continuing Education, the noncredit college within the district.

San Diego Councilmembers Sean Elo-Rivera and Monica Montgomery Steppe, SDCCD Board of Trustees President Maria Nieto Senour, Ph.D., College of Continuing Education Interim President Kay Faulconer Boger, Ed.D., and the College of Continuing Education’s Historic Preservation Committee are among the city’s elected officials and VIPs that will be in attendance.

The state funding will preserve and rehabilitate ECC, one of southeastern San Diego’s only centers for education and arts with ties to Coretta Scott King and the creation of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday. Theatre renovations will include modern acoustic panels, sound and lighting controls, updated entries, foyer areas, and seating. Additionally, plans will update surrounding exterior patio areas, and a new community room that will welcome public use. A planning committee will be formed and meet this fall. The project is estimated to be completed in 2024.

ECC has been a symbol of community and African American arts, culture, and activism since its beginnings in 1972. Coretta Scott King’s address at ECC in 1983, influenced the decision to sign the law creating the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. In addition to establishing the federal observance, other momentous events have ties to ECC, including performances by human right champions, Stevie Wonder, Maya Angelou, Shirley Caesar, James Meredith, and Jesse Jackson.

Prior to his appointment as the SDCCD Chancellor, Dr. Cortez served six years as President of the College of Continuing Education where he and Laurie Coskey, Ed.D., Executive Director of the school’s foundation established its Historic Preservation Committee. Together they are working with the city of San Diego and state officials to have ECC named as a Civil Rights Landmark Designation. 


NOTE TO MEDIA: Cameras encouraged to RSVP. COVID-19 protocols will be observed. Parking available.

Allura Olympia Garis