Chula Vista to consider taking over ownership of Olympic Training Center

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - The Chula Vista Olympic Training Center could possibly be coming under city ownership.

In a letter dated May 23 from the U.S. Olympic Committee and addressed to City Manager James Sandoval, the USOC proposes that the city explore whether it would like to take over the title of the property.

In the letter obtained by 10News, USOC CEO Scott Blackman writes that the purpose of the handover would be to allow the committee to focus its attention on competition. The CVOTC would continue to operate as the official Olympic training site.

"In 2004, the USOC was restructured and our mission was narrowed to focus on sustained competitive excellence at the Olympic and Paralympic Games," USOC CEO Scott Blackman writes. "All of our expenditures are currently evaluated based upon whether and to what extent they contribute to that mission, and we believe that it is possible that we could better deliver against our mission if a third party were to take over responsibility for operations at the CVOTC."

In a response dated May 27, Sandoval acknowledges that the city is "very interested" in possibly acquiring the title. He explains that the transition would likely occur over several years.

In a memo that same day to the Chula Vista City Council, Sandoval states that the city "must complete a comprehensive effort of due diligence before any decisions regarding the land can be made."

The documents do not provide any indication regarding the finances of such a sale.

"It's never really fulfilled its promise,"  Sandoval told 10News Wednesday about the training center.

When asked about the cost to purchase the property, he said, "It's 155 acres … Probably $100 million worth of improvements. So it's very significant."

"It's something we might lease out as long as it continues to have the purpose of athletic training," he added. "For the city to take that on, we have to make sure we at least break even."

A USOC spokeswoman sent 10News to following statement:

"The USOC spends approximately $28 million each year on the operation of Olympic Training Centers, or 14 percent of our annual operating budget. The OTC in Chula Vista requires approximately $8 million per year to sustain operations. We want to improve our understanding of the contributions that the Olympic Training Centers make to our medal performance at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. While we do that, we are also going to explore whether we could achieve the same or better results against the mission if the City of Chula Vista were to take over operations at Chula Vista, which would free up some resources for us to redeploy to NGBs and athletes.

We are grateful for the support of our partners in the southern California region, including the San Diego Sports Foundation, the Eastlake Development Company, the City of Chula Vista and larger community of Olympic and Paralympic fans in Southern California, and will continue to work with them and others to ensure that America's elite athletes have everything they need to be successful."

The 155-acre CVOTC opened in 1995. The land and facility was a gift from the San Diego National Sports Training Foundation. It is one of three training facilities. The other two are in Lake Placid, NY, and Colorado Springs, Colo.

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