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Elephant Rumblings: Oakland schools planning on revitalizing Coliseum Complex

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MLB: Spring Training-San Diego Padres at Oakland Athletics Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Tuesday, Athletics Nation!

On a recent morning, about 45 Castlemont High School students fanned out across the parking lot of the Oakland Coliseum Complex, taking pictures, writing notes, and making observations about what they saw.

The students are part of Castlemont’s sustainable urban design academy, where they learned elements of architecture, engineering, urban planning, and ecology and collaborated on projects to improve their neighborhoods in deep East Oakland. A few years ago, students from the academy worked with the Black Cultural Zone when the group was planning Liberation Park, an outdoor community space near Foothill Boulevard and 73rd Avenue that offers a skating rink and farmers market. Now, students in Lillian Jacobson’s 11th-grade urban ecology class are partnering with the African American Sports and Entertainment Group (AASEG) to reimagine how the grounds can better serve the surrounding communities.

“I try to do projects that are real and will actually have an impact,” Jacobson said. “What could we design that would actually improve the community without displacing people?”

Specific details about the redevelopment plans haven’t been released, but AASEG is considering affordable and market-rate housing, culture and arts offerings, hotels, sports and entertainment venues, and other businesses. AASEG members hope to revitalize the area by creating thousands of jobs.

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