City Council

Los Altos Community Center Master Plan – Recreation Center first in line

Los Altos Community Center - still moving the orchard per 2013 council direction
Written by lalahpolitico
New Goal for the Los Altos Community Center

New Goal for the “Civic Center Master Plan”is  just a new Rec. Center – Slides presented by architect Anderson Brulee

City Council still expects to move the apricot orchard someday, but not anytime soon. It got the message loud and clear when a market research poll in 2012 showed that a bond to pay for the ambitious Los Altos Community Center Master Plan as originally conceived would fail. Now at the September 10, 2013 City Council Meeting, the plan was reconsidered.   Now the first phase bond would be much smaller and be used to pay for ONLY a new recreation center to replace the decrepit Hillview Center. A new police station and then city hall would come later, perhaps much later. This means that the road work to extend W. Edith across San Antonio and into city parcel is off the table for now. ( Read about the original 2009 site plan maps here.)

 

The bond would be for only the community center. City of Los Altos Hills may help pay.

Cost is per square foot. And is not much higher now than in 2009. This is not project cost. The bond would be for only the community center. City of Los Altos Hills may help pay. Slides presented by architect Anderson Brulee.

 

The old Hillview Center is 33,700 square feet. The new one is being planned at 55,600 square feet. The range of costs for the proposed Rec. Center project is roughly estimated at  $19.5 million to $22.25 million at today’s new construction costs. This is a lot better than the $65 to $80M that was orginially proposed for Phase 1, much the less the $180 M price tag with everything in! See Phases and Costs of the old plan.

The City of Los Altos Hills will be probably be asked to participate in the phase one bond to fund the Rec. Center.  As Val Carpenter says, Los Altos is the downtown of the City of Los Altos Hills. Jean Mordo of the City of LAH has previously indicated that LAH City Council would be interested in polling its citizens to assess their interest in being co-owners of a new Rec. Center. Lalahpolitco thinks that this arrangement could gel. It will probably require a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA). But the two cities are already engaged in a JPA– the North County Library Authority — which has raised a bond to pay for extended hours of operation at LA Library and Woodland Library. So a second JPA could be easy perhaps.

 

Option 1 – Center of parcel.  Hillview demolished later. Soccer field is temporarily closed

Los Altos Community Center - site option 1. Building ids brown. Red dot is Rec. Dept Entrance. Grey is parking lots. Green is soccer field

Los Altos Community Center – site option 1. Building ids brown. Red dot is Rec. Dept Entrance. Grey is parking lots. Green is soccer field

You can see from the 5 initial site locations ideas above and below which were presented on September 10 to City Council, that Hillview is being torn down and replaced in various locations and configuration on the current 6  to 7 Acres of the Hillview parcel.  This leaves all the other buildings, including the Bus Barn, aka The Los Altos Stage Company, undisturbed.

 

Option 2 – Far end of parcel.  Hillview demolished first, before construction. Soccer field can stay open

Los Altos Community Center - site option 2. Building ids brown. Red dot is Rec. Dept Entrance. Grey is parking lots. Green is soccer field

Los Altos Community Center – site option 2. Building is brown. Red dot is Rec. Dept Entrance. Grey is parking lots. Green is soccer field

Basically there are three locations under consideration for the building. 1) Where it is now at the far end of the parcel 2) moved to the middle of the parcel 3) moved to where the soccer field is now. There are also a few ideas for the way a building could be configured: A one story rectangle, an L shape, a a square around a central interior atrium or two.  It could be 100% one story or perhaps with 30% or so on a second story. It would be more or less green -with fewer or more solar panels. Any of those building configurations could be paired with the three basic locations.

 

Option 3 – Far end of parcel.  Hillview demolished first. Soccer field can stay open. Two Buildings

Option 3 - Far end of parcel.  Hillview demolished first. Soccer field can stay open. Atrium.

Option 3 – Far end of parcel. Hillview demolished first. Soccer field can stay open. Atrium.

City Manager Marcia Somers reported at the council meeting that other architects were considered, but the original architect, Andersen Brulee, emerged as the preferred choice. The architect expects to get together with a subcommitee (of city council ) to finalize designs that can be taken out to the public for input in the usual way – time consuming charettes.

 

Option 4 – Far end of parcel.  Hillview demolished first. Soccer field can stay open. Atrium.

Los Altos Community Center - site option 4. Building ids brown. Red dot is Rec. Dept Entrance. Grey is parking lots. Green is soccer field

Los Altos Community Center – site option 4. Building is brown. Red dot is Rec. Dept Entrance. Grey is parking lots. Dark Green is soccer field, unmoved.  Bight green is building atrium. Old Hillview has to be demolished first.

 

Option 5 – Center of parcel.  Hillview demolished later. Soccer field can stay open. 

Los Altos Community Center - site option 5. Building ids brown. Red dot is Rec. Dept Entrance. Grey is parking lots. Green is soccer field

Los Altos Community Center – site option 5. Building is brown. Red dot is Rec. Dept Entrance. Grey is parking lots. Dark Green is soccer field unmoved. New building can be constructed without demolishing old building. Parking is disrupted.

 

Lalahpolitico: I think that the public input as proposed is going down the wrong path again, in three ways.

1) Charettes will involve way too few people. Probably all the residential neighbors who abut the city land plus lots of property owners downtown – commercial and condo will show up. This are the same people who seemed to bless the first plan which then blew up in the city’s face when it was presented to a broader community and a price tag was finally atttached.

2) Second problem – The architect is not helping the public visualize some possibilities for the interior spaces. For the first master plan,  I heard talk of movable panels, but there have never been ANY SKETCHES OF POSSIBLE INTERIORS. What will the great room look like? What are some possible amenities? How can a senior center share its space with other groups like student tutors?  Please explain this to the diverse interest groups and demographic groups.

3) Third problem – The architect’s slide deck and staff report lists 40 or 50 groups that pay hourly rates to use the current Hillview Center.  What rates will the city be charging for the shiny new building? And what will the LA Rec. Department have to charge for all its cute and cool courses? Please explain how the usage economics might work. Is it that the taxpayers of LA and LAH will be paying enough keep the rates the same?  That’s an ok approach, but just say so.

See the City Staff report.

http://los-altos.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=4&clip_id=692&meta_id=35264

 

About the author

lalahpolitico

Norma Schroder is an economics & market researcher by trade and ardent independent journalist, photographer and videographer by avocation. Enthralled by the growth of the tech industry over the decades, she only became fascinated with business of local politics only in the past couple of years.

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