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Santa Barbara Middle School finds permanent home

Santa Barbara Middle school has found a permanent home at the Jefferson Campus on the Riviera for the first time in its 40-year history.

It was all made possible by the gifted donation from Santa Barbara photographer, environmentalist and educator Ernie Books II. Brooks was the president of Brooks Institute from 1971 to 1999.

With the Jefferson Campus property valued at about $8 million, many consider this to be one of the largest donations given to an independent school on the Central Coast.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on October 7.

The Jefferson Campus was built in 1933, and originally housed Jefferson Elementary School. The campus was briefly used during World War II as a nurse’s auxiliary training facility. Brooks purchased the property in 1976 to serve as an expansion of Brooks Institute.

Although Brooks eventually sold Brooks Institute to Career Education Corporation, he retained control of the Jefferson Campus and would continue to lease it to CEC until it relocated to Ventura in 2011. Rather then selling the property, Brooks gifted it to Santa Barbara Middle School convinced that the school was the best fit to continue his life’s work and vision for the community.

SBMS’s mission is to cultivate students’ passion for life and life-long learning, a deep sense of trust in themselves, strength and courage to succeed at life’s challenges, and compassion and respect for others, according to the school’s website.

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