What happens to the old Paso Robles CA boys’ school?


After more than a decade of empty, unused rest, the Paso Robles Boys’ School property may finally have a new owner this year.

Bids were due Tuesday for the former state-owned juvenile facility near Airport Road. The California Department of General Services opened the 160-acre property to private buyers in December after the city’s attempts to buy it failed.

The city of Paso Robles came up with a variety of possible uses for the site, including industrial, commercial, and even a hotel or open space.

The property – officially known as El Paso de Robles Correctional Facility or Estrella Correctional Facility – has been vacant since it closed in 2008.

Paso Robles executives have tried for years to buy it for use in the city, but efforts have repeatedly failed, mainly due to the bureaucratic burden involved in purchasing state property. The city’s last attempt to buy the boys‘ school ended in 2018, according to Tribune reports.

Now, city officials expect a private buyer to finally take over the site, which is filled with decaying buildings and equipment that have remained largely intact for the past 13 years.

The state is seeking a private buyer for the 160-acre El Paso de Robles Youth Correctional Facility. The property, pictured here in 2018, has remained vacant since it closed in 2008. Joe Johnston [email protected]

Preparation of the property for purchase

The boys’ school is over 60 years old. It is made up of at least 42 buildings that are “generally in poor condition” and require at least $ 70.4 million in repairs, according to the state’s report on the request for written tenders.

It includes 12 residential buildings, a medical building, two gymnasiums, a swimming pool, an office building, a machinery and maintenance building, a kitchen, seven classroom buildings and a chapel / auditorium.

The state paid at least $ 700,000 a year to maintain the empty facility, according to a 2017 Tribune article.

A video tour of the boys’ school property uploaded by Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin to YouTube in 2016 showed much of the facility and its equipment intact but in degrading condition.

Prior to a potential purchase, city council in January hired town planning firm Oasis Associates for $ 45,000 to prepare land use rights, environmental reports and other documents and to coordinate outreach efforts related to the project. redevelopment of the property, according to a report from city staff.

Project applicants would reimburse the city for the full cost of the contract, according to the council resolution.

“Staff have determined that the potential reuse of the property has significant benefits for the economic development of the city and therefore should be accelerated,” said Warren Frace, director of community development, in an email. “The city’s procurement process takes a while, so it makes sense to start early. “

The state is seeking a private buyer for the 160-acre El Paso de Robles Youth Correctional Facility. The property, pictured here in 2018, has remained vacant since it closed in 2008. Joe Johnston [email protected]

How would a new owner use the boys’ school property?

The city has proposed a “master plan” that suggests building a 1.5 million square foot commercial and industrial park that reallocates some of the existing buildings, including the brick dormitories.

Potential uses include a distribution warehouse, office and commercial space, open space and a 120-room business hotel, according to the report. Cal Fire’s existing base on the property would remain.

“The master plan would be consistent with the city’s airport master plan, in substantial compliance with the airport land use plan for Paso Robles Municipal Airport, and would support and improve the overall economic strategy and the city’s development goals, ”the report said.

These plans differ markedly from the city’s earlier proposals, which suggested using the property for transitional housing and homeless farm laborers and educational and sports facilities, previous Tribune reports reported.

Frace said the town plan is a placeholder that could change if a new owner comes up with something different.

“The master plan takes into account previous concepts of land use, general plan objectives, site constraints and economic development objectives,” he said. “The buyer is expected to come up with a somewhat different plan that will go through a process for input from the public, including the planning commission and city council.”

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Lindsey Holden writes about housing, Northern County communities and everything in between for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. She became a writer in 2016 after working for the Rockford Register Star in Illinois. Lindsey is originally from California and raised in the Midwest and graduated from DePaul and Northwestern Universities.


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