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Laboratory To Bring Career Pathways — And A Bit Of The Ocean — To City Heights

This undated rendering shows the 11,000-square-foot Ocean Discovery Institute...

Photo by Ocean Discovery Institute

Above: This undated rendering shows the 11,000-square-foot Ocean Discovery Institute planned for City Heights.

Special Feature Speak City Heights

Speak City Heights is a media collaborative aimed at amplifying the voices of residents in one of San Diego’s most diverse neighborhoods. (Read more)

A long-awaited science facility in City Heights now has enough funding to break ground.

The Ocean Discovery Institute announced Saturday it met its $15 million goal to build a science facility in City Heights.

The center will have three laboratories, a scientist in residence, a community kitchen and garden. It will sit at the entrance of Manzanita Canyon, where the Ocean Discovery Institute has been teaching youth how urban runoff pollutes canyons and eventually reaches the ocean.

The institute has partnered with the San Diego Unified School District and will provide science education aligned with classroom curriculum. The facility will sit adjacent to Joyner Elementary School and a block away from Monroe Clark Middle School. The location is within a mile of nine schools.

"We really had this vision that we could reach an entire community through science," said Executive Director Shara Fisler. "That was going to be really important to not only engage a young person as an individual in becoming a scientific leader, but that they need their family's support and a community of support around them."

Fisler said she wants the lab to be a gathering place for the community.

"Parents can bring their younger children to come and participate in free programs after school," Fisler said. "It will include research opportunities for some of the older students — you know, middle school, high school — college-age students coming to the lab and conducting real research, working alongside scientists."

Several foundations contributed to the project. The final $150,000 gift came from the California State Coastal Conservancy.

A groundbreaking is scheduled for February. The facility is expected to open in January 2017.

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