City Council

New Hillview Community Center Floor Plan – Bye Bye Children’s Corner

Hillview Community Center March 1 2018
Elevation Views of the Hillview Community Center Project resemble prior renderings
Written by lalahpolitico

Architects Tam & Noll will present the new schematic drawings of the Hillview Community Center project to City Council March 13, 2018. Children’s Corner is gone, the floor plan has had a few changes as was expected, the exterior look and feel is the same, the budget is still the expanded amount of $34.7M.  Here’s quick look at the staff report and schematics in the meeting agenda now available on the City website.

Pictures are worth thousands of words.

Image 1: A Prior Hillview Community Center Floor Plan

The floor plan went through several iterations before this one for a Nov. 7 2017 meeting. This was the last one on which Children’s Corner was called out.  There was a later floor plan where the end of that southern wing is just referred to as “3,000 square feet.” Read about the struggle over granting a non-profit school an exclusive-use, market-rate lease of space. Lalahpolitico: I hear the ousted Children’s Corner, a 40-year tenant at the old Hillview, will be moving to a church property in south Los Altos.

Hillview Community Center floor plan as of Nov. 7, 2016

This is what the floorplan looked like for the Nov. 7 meeting.

Image 2: Latest Floor Plan dated March 1, 2018
for March 13 City Council Meeting

Hillvie Community Center Floor Plan March 1 2017 for March 17 meeting

Lalahpolitico has colorized the new T&N image and added a color key to match with the Nov. 7 plan. Also I  added bigger text so the reader may more easily make a comparison between the floorplans then and now. [The new naked original is pure white with very small font; hard to read]. CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER VIEW.

What’s Changed in Hillview Community Center Plan

With the 3,000 square feet for Children’s Corner gone from the southern wing of the Hillview Community Center, it appears the space has been redistributed like this: a) about 1000 ft.? for an extra 3rd MPR next to Kinderprep, b) a bit more dedicated space for seniors, now clearly two separate rooms, which will make MVLA programming easier, c) the rest of the freed up space perhaps making the rest of the rooms a little more ample.

At the March 13 meeting, we can expect Tam & Noll to be asked how the 3,000 feet of space was redistributed, and we expect them and City Recreation Director Manny Hernandez to answer.  They still have not put the room dimensions on the drawings.

These past three months the architect did a deep dive on investigating the entire site area, the soil, the drainage, the traffic, the foliage.  Several soil cores were taken by a soil engineer.  In light of full information,  some of the site’s “bioretention” areas have been relocated. These are what handle water run-off.  This will affect the final landscape plan… a version which we are apparently not seeing again at the point in the project schedule.

The Direct Neighbors, The Seniors

Thanks to the new floor plan, the neighbors along Eleanor Ave. — to the right side of the schematic above – will enjoy a wider buffer between their backyards and the Hillview Community Center. It will be wider than it is now with the old school building.

This past week City officials have been meeting with seniors in the senior program at Grant Park and with neighbors of the Hillview Community Center project. Neighbors suggested switching the locations of the half-court basket ball court  and the bocce court.  They said it made more sense to have the  basketball closer to the teen center. And they said seniors could just as easily make their way over to bocce courts if moved to Neutra House.  Lalahpolitico:  And neighbors probably think that bocce courts will not be used after 3 pm when seniors tend to go home, whereas basketball might be played till dark. Seniors will be much quieter than teens I suppose. And speaking of quieter, I hope that the seniors advocated for consideration of acoustics – many elders are hard of hearing.  Not all can benefit from the new tech hearing aids. Let there be some interior quiet spaces, nooks, corners. [Tomorrow March 7, City staff will meet with the Hillview Senior Program at 9am]

To get a LEED Gold equivalent rating on the Hillview Community Center project, solar panels will have to be deployed.  The architect says putting them only on the building roof could be problematical. The suggestion is to deploy some or all solar arrays over the Hillview Ave. parking lot as is done at Los Altos High School.  An citizen observer at the neighbor meeting reported that several of the 12 or so direct neighbors attending were quite riled by the idea.  Apparently they are fearful the solar panel arrays would be like the ones the Los Altos School District has just put in at all 8 schools — namely arrays brightly lit up at night!!! Lalahpolitico:  Is the Hillview parking lot lighted at night now?  I think not. If it is, how about lights no brighter than what is there now? Or no lights period?

Lalahpolitico Analysis:

The Hillview Community Center project seems on track. Keep moving forward.

Some ex-members of the Hillview Task Force — disbanded in December 2017 as planned, after completing the “task” — seem miffed that City Manager Chris Jordan…did not call them back for an encore. Instead a small team of city staff – a “working group” – is huddling  with only two ex-Task Force members: Claudia Coleman and Dennis Young. Chris Jordan writes that the working group regularly communicates with reps from the City’s relevant Commissions.  Also that neighbor and resident outreach is planned. Lalahpolitico:  This working group arrangement seems ok to me. When the Hillview Community Center project gets to the point of  selecting exterior materials…or selecting interiors…I expect the City will do more active resident outreach to check on tastes and preferences.

It is important to stay on schedule because the new State Housing laws are trying to unleash a huge increase in demand for construction services.  The San Jose Mercury ran an article last week claiming there are significant skilled labor shortages now.


March 13 Council Meeting, Hillview Agenda Item report and drawings





About the author


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 became fascinated with the business of local politics only in the past several years.