Some community members are asking the City of Los Altos to share-lease-give land to LASD for one or two school sites. They seem to have their eye on the Hillview site. And one supposes they hope the City would help fund certain facilities at these new schools. They have pointed to the example of Emeryville, CA for its “innovative, think outside the box” school city facilities sharing.
Lalahpolitico recommends taking a look at their architect – Nexus Associates – and the plans for the “Center of Community Life” to anyone considering building a new school. Very nice indeed. However, the situation there is quite different from ours here in Los Altos.
Cutting to the chase, the 7 acres of land is an existing high school owned the the District not the City. The new “Center” will actually be 90% school and 10% community-family oriented. The only facility targeted at seniors is a “lounge.” There are student safety concerns.
District Bankruptcy in 2001 – City loans money
“The concept of joint use is not new to the City of Emeryville and Emery Unified School District (EUSD), which had previously developed agreements to utilize school sports fields, gyms, pools, classrooms, and other facilities for city recreation programming. Yet in 2001, the bankruptcy and state takeover of EUSD prompted city and school board leaders to identify ways to operate more efficiently and effectively, and the city has loaned the district money as it worked with the state to overcome its financial difficulties.” [March 29, 2013, Michael Karpman http://www.emeryvillecenter.org Lalahpolitico. That kind of money give away happened here when the City of Palo Alto agreed to pay rent for Cubberley campus for about 20 years. And here in Los Altos after the economic fallout from 2001, I guess we should be thankful that all we got was a closed school which begat a charter.
Measure J [EUSD] will not only replace aging schools that don’t meet current seismic safety standards, but if passed, will provide facilities that include a range of essential services such as adult education, job training, after-school activities, childcare, health services, and more — all at the same location where schools are housed – to benefit all children and families.
Old Mixed Industrial Town – 30K people by day, 10K people by night.
Los Altos is a bedroom community. Emeryville is the opposite. A place to work. “Emeryville is fortunate to have many unique assets upon which to draw as it pursues this major project. The city is situated in a 1.2-mile urban area between Oakland and Berkeley, and has a population of about 10,000 residents. Yet the number of individuals in the city swells to 30,000 during the day as workers commute to the many corporate offices in the city, which include the headquarters of Pixar Animation Studios, as well as offices for Bayer, Novartis and State Farm. These companies provide the city with a strong commercial tax base, and the chamber of commerce has played a key role in generating support for local plans from the business community.” Michael Karpman http://www.emeryvillecenter.org
The EUSD land is long-time School district land – City to just bring money
The Center of Community Life site is an existing 7 acre EUSD high school built during the 70’s. The kids were recently moved to a rented empty high school in Oakland, and the one story sprawling structure was demolished this January 2014. In 2010 the school district passed a $95M bond, but the recession with its falling assessed property values made it worth $45M. Spending was paused. The city was supposed to bring $21M of Redevelopment Agency (RDA) funding, but almost lost it when Governor Brown closed down RDA. The city was eventually able to wrangle special dispensations from the state legislature and the RDA funds were reinstated.
The architect has estimated building costs and the plan is in the blueprint stage. There are no land costs.
59.9 M for the building
2.8M for the furnishings
62.7 M TOTAL
SOURCE OF FUNDS
21.1M City RDA funds
41.7M School bond bonds
62.7 M TOTAL
Elements of the ECCL Plan –
It Could almost fit on Hillview, It Could accommodate our large charter
The new ECCL will house 780 kinder to 12th grade students on the 7.6 acres ! [An unfunded Phase II plan could build on top of parking and accomodate 1130 students.] So a plan like this could theoretically almost fit on our Los Altos Hillview site AND accommodate the enrollment of our charter school! A 2 acre Anna Yates school is to be closed and used for community services TBD. So the city seems to receive 2 acres.
The ECCL plan obtained other special favors from the state legislature. Education code was amended to allow a lease-back option to be used for mixed-use facilities IN EMERYVILLE ONLY.
Relaxing Student Safety Law…
The plan also had to change existing student security regulations… via 2009 AB 1080 introduced by Nancy Skinner.
“…joint-use facilities law limits specific hours, amount of time, and classroom space in a public school facility that can be used by a non-school entity. These regulations work very well for many traditional campuses, but the vision of the Emeryville Center of Community Life is of a more integrated environment that best utilizes the limited space available in our URBAN COMMUNITY…We support the provisions of AB1080 which requires a campus wide student safety plan and will continue to work with the community to protect the safety of our students while providing valuable services to the community. Long before the opening of the facility, a security plan will be drafted with significant community input and approved by the district and the city.”
As of this writing Lalahpolitico could not find a draft security plan. It’s still early. Current thoughts on how what spaces would be used when by whom were not quite set. It seemed, that except for the orange areas outlined in red – M to F everything was off limits to the public. On weekends the public could use the outdoor spaces as they do now. I did notice that the school wanted to claw back and get some hours reserved at the “public” pool. The description of the school library suggested that whether circulation was going to be open to the public was an open issue. The architects had planned that access to this school library would include a route from the public cafe!
Go to this Youtube at about 16.30 minutes to see and hear about all the special fences and locks being designed to enforce adult student separation and also grade separation inside and outside. Keep your eyes open for the upper story terraces open to adults and high schoolers, perfect for viewing small children at play below. Notice that the only feature targeting seniors is a “lounge.” Notice that the Community area houses a “health” service targeted at families. [I suppose Los Altos could include a “health” service targeted at seniors instead.] Notice that the Community space also includes adult education, which is actually provided by school systems. Lalahpolitico heard no mention of sharing classrooms or specialized teaching spaces between the school and public.
Listen to these points in the Video of the ECCL Plan Presentation
Youtube video. May 2, 2013 final design presentation by Nexus partners. 30 minutes of slides with narration. There is a .pdf of the slides, but it seemed to differ. As I recall it, the video was more comprehensive.
At about 9 minutes are site maps and explanations
At about 16.30 minutes are maps of security points and discussion
At about 24 minutes are renderings of interior of MPR
3-D FLY THROUGH of ECCL
Here is a 2.30 minute fly through of the ECCL plan on Vimeo. The architect must be depicting a pleasant weekend because of all the age group mixing and the large number of adults on site. On weekends all open space can be a park. Unless something is scheduled for the High School track of course. I recommend you get familiar with the static site map first, before viewing the fly-through. Keep your eyes open for the upper story terraces open to adults and high schoolers, perfect for viewing small children at play below.
A VIGOROUS BLOGGING COMMUNITY IN EMERYVILLE
The ECCL issue has been very divisive in Emeryville. The School board and superintendents there have had a lot of turnover. One blogger says they have been pawns of charters and school privatization, enemies of teachers unions. Also the parents at the to be closed Anna Yates are resisting. And now toxins have been found in the soil at the ECCL site, just recently cleared of the high school demolition debris. No way the project is going to make a September 2015 opening?
I guess the City of Emeryville is too low income to have a real PAPER WEEKLY like Berkeley and Alameda and Los Altos. Just for fun check out this sampling of Emeryville blog posts…
The Secret News Online – State Has No Obligation to Fund ECCL, 2012
The Emeryville Tatler – Chief Proponent of Center of Community Life, School Board’s Josh Simon Said to be Moving to Oakland, 2014
The Emeryville Tatler – District Spend $17,000. So where is the PR Rapid Response Team?
E’Ville Eye – Vice Mayor Criticizes ECCL Plan, “Make sure that shared is not a synonym for “oversubscribed” or “scarce.”