Category Archives: Cal State San Marcos

Sustainable infrastructure and innovative technology make San Marcos’ North City shine

Visitors to San Marcos’ vibrant North City neighborhood will instantly notice the new downtown district’s cool vibe, modern architecture, bustling energy and ‘green’ footprint.

Artful succulent plantings and green infrastructure solutions hint at the numerous elements of sustainability incorporated into the district’s design above ground. And there’s plenty of innovation beneath the feet of foodies visiting the area’s vibrant eateries, families relaxing in the airy outdoor spaces and Cal State San Marcos students walking to class when school’s in session.

Yet with just 25 percent of the overall North City project currently developed, there’s even more excitement on the horizon. The completed project will include 1,500+ new housing units (both single-family and higher density residential units), new retailers, innovative office and commercial spaces, community events and a 20-acre Discovery Park in North City’s residential community west of Twin Oaks Valley Road.

At the foundation of it all is state-of-the-art green infrastructure. A high-tech stormwater management system is built-in under the sidewalks and medians. The City of San Marcos, in partnership with developer Sea Breeze Properties and Stevens Cresto Engineering, installed 80 trees and 1,200 innovative modular suspended pavement units called DeepRoot Silva Cells, (along with inlets and storm drains), which collect and treat urban runoff. Special grates and soils designed for biofiltration enable the capture and treatment of urban runoff and retain it to nourish the trees.

The new technology increases water conservation and reduces the amount of potable water that’s needed for irrigation. The San Diego region typically gets 10 inches of rainfall each year, yet April brought nearly half of the average yearly rainfall in just six days. Thanks to North City’s new innovative footprint, more than 80,000 gallons of stormwater were captured and treated through bioretention offered by Silva Cells, significantly improving the quality of stormwater runoff. The system helps keep San Marcos waterways clean by reducing the amount of runoff and pollution that flows into our creeks, streams and the ocean.

This kind of innovation and sustainable infrastructure are key benchmarks for the future as San Marcos continues to grow. Expect to see more mixed-use, green infrastructure development projects in the near future, including: North City West, Discovery Park and El Dorado Apartments.

Here’s how to stay up to date on North City and the latest City of San Marcos projects

A COVID Education

COVID-19 certainly surprised us all. As public health mandates were implemented and businesses responded, it became clear that no industry was safe from COVID – even the ones we traditionally think of as “recession proof.” Instead, many organizations had to adapt quickly (very quickly) to ever evolving protocols because, pandemic or no pandemic, people needed them.

Educational institutions in San Marcos did just that.

San Marcos is a hub of education with eight institutions of higher learning, so when COVID-19 impacted campuses mid-semester, our educational leaders had to adjust quickly. California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) and Palomar College, for example, both pivoted to online learning offerings in a just few days, which is no small feat considering the adjustments necessary to evolve experiential classes (laboratories, student teaching, art studios, internships, performances, community engagement, group projects, etc.) to an online setting.

“We were able to transition to distance learning in four days,” said CSUSM President Dr. Ellen Neufeldt. “So much credit needs to go to our faculty and staff for adapting so proficiently. Of course, some classes were easier than others, but I am really proud of how quickly we were able to respond to the realities of COVID-19 and maintain our level of student support.”

Similarly, Palomar College’s acting Superintendent/President Dr. Jack Kahn remarked at how the challenge of transitioning to distance learning provided some collateral benefits that can be applied to future semesters. “We have seen several instances of improved practices, innovations and collaborations across the campus,” said Dr. Kahn. “We have also provided an incredible amount of professional development to faculty and staff over the last months which has also helped us prepare [for future semesters].”

Both institutions strongly emphasized their commitment to fostering continued student success efforts, even with new dynamics resulting from online courses, and they see a potential for online education to reach new students in the future.

“As faculty are learning more and getting excited about opportunities we believe there will be more online options in the schedule in the future,” continued Dr. Kahn. “By increasing these options, we will increase access to education, especially for our students who typically hold down one or more jobs in order to make a living in San Diego County.”

Dr. Neufeldt echoed the value of blending online with in-person pedagogy and noted the need for “innovation for all.” “We stand ready to serve and support our students find a sense of community during COVID,” said Dr. Neufeldt. “Our campus has been committed to serving the needs of our community since the beginning, and the adjustments we’ve made in response to COVID are inspiring us to innovate our way forward.”

As public health restrictions are rolled back, CSUSM and Palomar College are looking forward to striking the appropriate balance between online and in-person learning to the benefit of students and the greater San Marcos community.

“By opening up access to education through our online delivery, many residents will find they are able to attend college while continuing to work in their current fields, raise a family, and continue to meet their obligations while improving their marketability through advancing their education,” said Dr. Kahn.

Cal State San Marcos also appreciates that by exploring new methods for making courses accessible remotely, it can strengthen its ability to provide a multitude of learning modalities that could potentially reach non-traditional students who are not recent high school graduates.

Planning for the fall semester is well underway and both institutions are currently offering robust online summer sessions with full enrollment numbers.

As COVID relief efforts continue and businesses reopen, San Marcos’ higher education leaders offer a reminder that they are here to serve the business community. “We always invite businesses to be our partners, so we can best serve our students and the City of San Marcos,” said Dr. Neufeldt. “We’re here to support our community now and beyond COVID.”

Traffic alert: Twin Oaks Valley Road traffic control scheduled for May 15 CSUSM event

Northbound and southbound traffic control implementation has been scheduled for Friday, May 15, to accommodate the Cal State San Marcos Graduates on Parade event. The event is scheduled from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Although traffic will be maintained along Twin Oaks Valley Road, traffic delays are anticipated. Motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes during this period. Signals at Twin Oaks Valley Road at Barham and Craven Road may be set to flash with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Deputies and CSUSM campus police in place to direct traffic.

More information about the event, visit csusm.edu/parade. For questions, email parade@csusm.edu.

Summer session at California State University San Marcos

The upcoming summer session at California State University San Marcos offers more than 170 accelerated courses that are open to CSUSM students as well as students from other universities and individuals in the community. Summer session dates are June 1 – Aug. 8, 2020.

Course topics feature such disciplines as mathematics, communications, computer science, women’s studies, human development, psychology, sociology, political science, and art, media and design. The classes are offered on a compressed timeline with students earning units in as little as five weeks. Face-to-face, online and hybrid formats meet a variety of needs.

During summer session, students from other universities, qualified high school seniors and community members can register for courses without being formally admitted to the university. Credits from CSUSM courses are fully transferable to other institutions. In addition, up to 24 undergraduate and nine graduate units taken as a nonmatriculated student may be counted toward a CSUSM degree.

By taking advantage of accelerated classes during summer session, students can get a head start on education goals, speed time to graduation or lighten the course load required in fall and spring terms.

The first block of classes will be held June 1 – July 2 and the second block of classes are scheduled for July 6 – Aug. 8. A small selection of classes run the full 10-week summer session, June 1 – Aug. 8.

Registration for CSUSM students opens on March 23 and for the public on March 30. For more information on summer session, please visit csusm.edu/summer.

As the academic outreach arm of Cal State San Marcos, Extended Learning is a leading provider of professional and continuing education in North San Diego and Southwest Riverside counties. Offering degree programs, professional certificates, and personal enrichment courses, Extended Learning helps individuals and organizations achieve their educational and training goals. Please visit CSUSM Extended Learning to learn more.

About California State University San Marcos

Building on an innovative 30-year history, California State University San Marcos is a forward- focused institution, dedicated to preparing future leaders, building great communities and solving critical issues. Located on a 306-acre hillside overlooking the city of San Marcos, CSUSM is the only public four-year comprehensive university serving North San Diego, Southwest Riverside and South Orange counties.

City honored with CSUSM’s Community Partner of the Year Award

The City of San Marcos and North City have been selected as the recipients of the 2020 California State University San Marcos President’s Award for Community Partner of the Year.

The award was created to acknowledge CSUSM’s deep connections to the regional community and recognize partners who have engaged in meaningful projects and initiatives that support the university’s mission, according to CSUSM officials.

“The City of San Marcos has been by our side since CSUSM was founded more than 30 years ago,” California State University San Marcos President Ellen J. Neufeldt, Ed.D. said.

In a letter announcing the award, Neufeldt emphasized the many
ways that the City and the university work together, including the Democracy in Action program, which empowers students to engage with local government, along with the City’s collaborative approach to economic development, which has benefited the educational community along with the entire region.

“As the educational hub of North County, San Marcos is educating the next generation of leaders,” City Manager Jack Griffin said. “We are proud to partner with CSUSM to work toward this shared goal.”

The award also recognized the collaboration between the City of San Marcos and North City in creating a vibrant new downtown district that further connects CSUSM students, faculty and staff with the community.

“The City is supporting place-making at its finest in North City – a walkable community with restaurants and cafés as well as spaces to work and live – which enhances the quality of life our students and San Marcos residents alike,” Neufeldt said.

To learn more about the City of San Marcos, visit www.san-marcos.net/live. To learn more about the North City development, follow the progress and events on Instagram @northcitysanmarcos, or visit www.northcity.com.

San Marcos students head back to school

San Marcos students are saying goodbye to summer and heading back to school this week and next week. The start of the school year spells increased traffic congestion. Please plan ahead for delays, and know that the City has been working to implement multiple projects to improve traffic flow and safety on our roadways.

In July, we completed the installation of LED safety lights to increase visibility for motorists and pedestrians, increase energy efficiency and reduce maintenance costs. Additional traffic management system enhancements are on the way, including an upgraded traffic signal communication network and traffic controller replacements. Traffic signal improvements are also planned for Rancho Santa Fe Road and Grandon Avenue, along with intersection improvements at San Marcos Boulevard and Discovery Street.

Plans are also in place to reconstruct the State Route 78 overcrossing at Woodland Parkway, reconfiguration of on/off ramps, and the widening of Woodland Parkway, Barham Drive and Rancheros Drive.

Motorists can expect delays throughout San Marcos as crews work to complete important repairs in advance of the new school year

Motorists can expect delays throughout town as crews work to complete important repairs in advance of the new school year

Motorists can expect delays throughout town as crews work to complete important repairs in advance of the new school year.

Motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes, follow all traffic control, drive with caution and leave early to arrive at destinations on time.

  • Major roadway repairs requiring multiple lane closures along San Marcos Boulevard at Rancho Santa Fe Road are on schedule and will continue through Aug. 20.
  •  Caltrans construction crews will close the eastbound State Route 78 (SR-78) off-ramp to Barham Drive/Woodland Parkway for approximately 80 hours beginning Thursday, Aug. 16 at 8 pm.
  • Single lane closures along Borden Road from La Cienega Road to Palomino Drive have been scheduled from Thursday, Aug. 16 through Friday, Aug. 17 to accommodate construction improvements related to the Borden 22 project.

For details about these projects or other road work taking place in San Marcos, visit www.san-marcos.net/roadwork. Residents are encouraged to sign up for the city’s email notifications that include traffic alerts, city news, and other information updates by visiting, www.san-marcos.net/alerts.

S. Twin Oaks Valley closed at Cal State San Marcos due to water main break- 07/19/2018 5:00 PM

Due to an unexpected water leak, S. Twin Oaks Valley Road near California State University San Marcos is closed in both directions as crews work to assess the situation and complete repairs. Expect delays and detours for several days.

Motorists are urged to drive with caution, follow all traffic control measures, look for alternate routes and avoid the area if possible.  Updates will be posted as they become available at www.san-marcos.net/roadwork.

For more information about the main break, water quality or other water issues, contact Vallecitos Water District at (760) 744-0460 or www.vwd.org.

San Marcos firefighters help CSUSM students test drone technology

During a wildfire simulation, students explored how drones could deliver hoses to crews

Last month North County firefighters gathered in San Marcos for a wildfire simulation, but this wasn’t your typical training.
The City of San Marcos rallied crews from several cities to help California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) students test a drone technology that could improve how wildfires are fought.

“Firefighters spend a lot of time and energy shuttling hoses from the engine to the actual wildfire,” explained Nick Blaylock, one of the students involved. “And they’re often doing this up steep slopes and across rough terrain, which is exhausting.”

Drones, however, could possibly help crews conserve some energy by air-dropping those hose- packs so firefighters don’t have to haul them. As part of a senior project, Blaylock and four other students spent months exploring that with Skylift Global, a San Marcos-based company that makes drones capable of delivering supplies to first-responders.
Though Skylift Global has been in business for three years, serving firefighters is new territory it wanted to explore–so the company submitted a proposal for the Senior Experience Program, which assigns CSUSM students to real-world projects like these.
The students began by researching what crews face during a wildfire. That led them to San Marcos Fire Battalion Chief James Colston, who oversees the department’s training and safety division.“We’re fortunate to have Cal State San Marcos right here in our backyard, so we were happy to help,” he said. “We invited them to observe our annual training, which I think opened their eyes.”

It did, in fact, says Blaylock. His team realized that a drone probably couldn’t help much during the early stages of a wildfire because the flames are too unpredictable. But it likely could help during the later stages, when a fire border has been established.
Based on that, the students designed a simulation that included fire hose packs every 100-feet, as if a drone had peppered them out for crews. Now, all they needed were firefighters to run the test.

“Thankfully, Chief Colston got an amazing turnout for us,” Blaylock said. “We were so thankful that so many firefighters were willing to come volunteer their time on a Sunday morning to help us.”

During the May 6 simulation, firefighters from the cities of San Marcos, Carlsbad, Escondido and Rancho Santa Fe—as well as the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE)—participated. Results showed that if crews did not have to manually haul hose packs, they worked about 18 percent faster—and theoretically, would be less fatigued during a real wildfire.

“While time is a good measurement, fatigue is really the key factor,” explained Colston, who added that he can see the potential support drones could provide. “If something like this can increase efficiency while reducing the chance of firefighters getting hurt, then I’m all for it.”
That exact sentiment is what inspired Amir Emadi to start Skylift Global. His father was working as a United States cooperative in Iraq when he was killed by Iraqi forces while protecting a city.

“Since then, I’ve spent my life finding a way to introduce technology to the people who dedicate their lives to protect us,” Emadi said. “I formed Skylift to help our first-responders save time, money and lives by delivering their critical supplies with our heavy-lift drones.”
As a next step, Emadi will use the research conducted by the CSUSM students to develop a plan to bring the drones to market. There are still hurdles to navigate, as drones are legally not allowed to be in the air during a wildfire, but Emadi is optimistic he can keep the momentum going.

“It was refreshing to work with such a driven, intelligent and responsible team,” he said, adding that although the CSUSM students have now graduated, some have remained interns and he hopes to hire them. “I am so thankful that San Marcos is home to such bright young talent like this, as well as city leaders who value innovation and are open to collaboration.”

For more information about Skylift Global, visit https://www.skyliftglobal.com/

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