Our School and History

MuralWelcome to University City High School, home of the Centurions. In their short 33-year history, our Centurions have distinguished themselves in academic, extra curricular and athletic endeavors.

Our school serves one of the largest geographic attendance area in the San Diego Unified School District and draws students from all over San Diego to its programs and course offerings.

University City High School’s dedicated faculty and staff serve a diverse student population that mirrors San Diego and works together to maintain our collegial school community.

Graduates of UCHS go on to successful careers internationally in professional, academic and occupational settings. The University City community members are justifiably proud of their community high school. Come see UC High in action!


We are the heart of the University City community of San Diego. We are surrounded by world-class institutions that provide resources and partnerships for our students including our neighbors University of California-San Diego and Biotech Beach, the thriving hub of the region's biotechnology industry  as well as high-tech giants like Qualcomm wireless and technology leaders.

Our school is diversity in action. Our student body of nearly 2,000 students come from a wide range of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds, and students come from all over the district to take advantage of our great programs. We offer a broad-based, comprehensive high school program.

One of our greatest strengths is our staff of experienced, well-trained, and highly qualified professionals who have dedicated themselves to offer one of the best-quality high school programs available Our staff’s efforts have been validated by our standardized test scores, including the Academic Performance Index (API), that have consistently exceeded both district and state averages.

UCHS offers a wide range of excellent instructional programs. The Advanced Placement Program, Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Program, the seminar program, and the special education program address the needs of identified students. UCHS students have the opportunity to take visual and performing arts courses and practical arts courses. Additional support for students is offered on site with an after-school course make-up program, Saturday school, and after-school tutoring. Come see UC High in action!

Built By Community Pride

MuralsThe roots of University City High reach back to 1962. That was the year the district chose the site. No one dreamed at the time that 20 years would pass before the first student entered the doors.

The problem was politics. Between 1962 and 1972, the school remained stuck on the drawing board, to the frustration of the growing community. Voters refused to pass school bonds to fund our much-needed school.

But the University City community stepped into action to command attention from policy makers countywide. In 1974, voters passed Proposition XX (University City voters passed the measure overwhelmingly) and the Board of Education approved construction of University City High School in 1976.

Then, a problem developed when the public saw the building plans. The original plans for the school called for a terraced campus to preserve the mature trees and scenic canyon. But a new state law required the site be accessible to the disabled and that meant the school had to be redesigned.

Some residents became unhappy with redesigned proposal calling for grading and filling of the canyon, and they sued to block construction. In response to the legal action, the Friends of University City High School formed. The group hired an attorney and within six days had gathered 1,100 signatures and money to join the lawsuit. The court case was heard in five different courts, going all the way to the California Supreme Court. And in each instance; the decision was upheld in favor of the San Diego Schools.

quadBy 1977, 21 of the 22 schools provided for by Prop. XX had been built. Only University City High remained unbuilt. Grading on the school site began during the winter of 1977. Then another hurdle presented itself with passage of the landmark tax law Proposition 13 in 1978, which drastically altered school funding. Eventually problems with bond funding were resolved, and the project moved forward once again.

Opposition began to develop from other areas of San Diego. Opponents felt the school should not be built in University City because of declining enrollment in other parts of the district. On March 6, 1979, before an auditorium packed with University City High School supporters, and over strong protests, the School Board voted to proceed with construction.

Another legal delay occurred when attorneys for an integration lawsuit sought to halt  construction on the grounds that the school would have a negative effect on the integration effort. A judge agreed to a temporary injunction until the impact  could be studied. The Friends of University City High School appealed to the community for financial and volunteer support to battle in court to lift the injunction and proceed with construction. A judge lifted the injunction but the decision was appealed, again all the way to the state Supreme Court. Again, the school district and University High won the day.

Yet another roadblock appeared. In the intervening years because of so many delays, construction costs had skyrocketed and San Diego's building boom continued, putting more pressure on schools. The project was nearly abandoned again, but once more the School Board voted to proceed in 1979. However, politics intervened. The mood of the new School Board which took office in December was decidedly different that that of the previous Board. Final approval of financing arrangements came before the new School Board on December 4, 1979. The vote was 2-2 and the high school appeared to be a dead issue.

The community rallied once again. The School Board voted in late 1979 to proceed with the school. Finally, groundbreaking occurred in 1980, followed by a champagne reception attended by hundreds of University City High School supporters.

In September 1981, the school opened. Twenty years of effort finally bore fruit. In every phase of the battle, the crucial factor to success was the willingness of the concerned, active and involved University City community who gave time, effort and money to carry the project through to its successful conclusion. A grassroots effort to build a community high school resulted in the beautiful, well-equipped complex. Interest and support has continued, and will continue, for University City High School.

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