While Palo Alto Unified owns the majority of the 35-acre site on Middlefield Road in south Palo Alto, the district feels less urgency in building something there now, while the city is eager to reinvigorate the aging complex with suggestions from the public for everything from a community garden and wellness center to a swimming pool, dog park, art gallery and theater.
Given uncertainty over future school enrollment and other factors, the district's needs are less concrete at this point, but board members have emphasized the need to preserve Palo Alto Unified's future options at Cubberley, one of the last major underdeveloped pieces of land in Palo Alto. Staff is recommending that the board agree that the master plan needs to accommodate the construction of a potential middle or high school, if needed; housing for school employees; and a new site for district operations.
"Although the future cannot be predicted, we must provide for space to build a possible new middle or high school, if it is needed. Given the real property market, there will be little chance that PAUSD can compete successfully to acquire real property of the size of Cubberley in the future," a staff report states.
The board is also starting to examine if and how the district could provide housing for teachers and staff, having recently taken the first step toward participating in a Santa Clara County-led affordable housing project for regional school districts.
Relocating the district office, which is currently located at 25 Churchill Ave., "would allow for better work flow space, professional development facilities and community access," the staff report states. The current district office could then be used for "innovative and targeted programs for students," particularly given its proximity to Palo Alto High School.
The Cubberley consultants updated the board members on their progress at the Feb. 12 school board meeting at which time members urged them to seek out families with young children and other constituents who might have been unable to attend the evening community meetings to solicit feedback, as well as asked how shared use of the facilities would work before and after the district builds its own facilities.
The draft master plan will include several conceptual design alternatives, cost estimates and phasing scenarios. The Board of Education and City Council are expected to review the draft master plan together in a joint meeting.
The fourth and final community co-design meeting is scheduled for May 9 at 7 p.m. the Cubberley Community Center Pavilion, 4000 Middlefield Road. For more information and to register, go to eventbrite.com or pausd.org/cubberley.
This story contains 511 words.
Stories older than 90 days are available only to subscribing members. Please help sustain quality local journalism by becoming a subscribing member today.
If you are already a subscriber, please log in so you can continue to enjoy unlimited access to stories and archives. Subscriptions start at $5 per month and may be cancelled at any time.