The city of San Diego is looking for the San Diego Unified School District to pick up the bulk of the expense of a study examining the costs of placing a high school on two floors of a planned downtown library.

A letter sent late Thursday from the city’s chief operating officer, Jay Goldstone, to schools Superintendent Terry Grier says the estimated cost of the study is $167,730. The city says it will pay $13,970 toward the study, which mayoral spokeswoman Rachel Laing said would come out of the city’s current library budget.

Laing said that portion represents the money that the city would have had to spend anyway for an updated cost analysis. “What we’re asking them to pick up is the incremental cost of only school-related additional costs,” she said.

The school board has already agreed to set aside $20,000 for the schoobrary study and is expected to use up to $20 million earmarked for a downtown school under Proposition S to place a 300-student school in the library.

It’s unknown whether they would agree to pay a total of $153,760 or more than 90 percent of the cost of the study.

Goldstone’s letter notes that the city has already agreed set aside $80 million in downtown redevelopment money for the library and that the San Diego Public Library Foundation has received $33 million in pledged donations for the building, which is expected to cost upwards of $185 million.

The California state librarian recently asked the city to provide details of the collaboration by Feb. 1 before she will consider extending a $20 million state grant. Laing said city officials plan to send an update on Monday.

Though city officials originally said they expected the City Council to vote on the study in January, Goldstone’s letter said the plan now is to have both the school board and council sign off on a study by Feb. 27.

(Update: The original version of this post said school board members discussed the feasibility study in closed session. The district’s general counsel, Mark Bresee, says any closed-session discussion concerned only the property negotiations and not the feasibility study.)


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