LASD Envisions Bullis Charter School on Kohls 10th Site

Kohls sign in Mountain View. Kohls 10th site
In two years, a Bullis Charter School sign could replace this shopping center sign at Kohls in Mountain View
Written by lalahpolitico

UPDATE Oct. 10, 2018 – Over the last week or so, it has become clear that the Kohl’s 10th site for a school is only 9.5 acres, not 11.5 acres. Elected officials confirm that the 2.0 acre park is a 24×7 park all the time. It cannot be used for any school program. As such it certainly will be fence off and probably landscape screened off from the school which can be built on the 9.5 acres.  Therefore the sketches in the post — done in the early days after the proposed Kohls deal was first announced — are misleading.  They show the school exterior space as extending seamlessly into the park. Perhaps this way of envisioning a school on the site was not intentionally misleading at the time. But those sketches below are no longer accurate, feasible or desirable.

The District showed  ‘what if’  architectural renderings of how a 900 student school could be placed on the Kohls 10th site at an Aug. 27 meeting. The Gelfand architects firm prepared the sketches at the direction of Randy Kenyon, Superintendent of Business. The number and size of rooms for a 900 student school underlying the sketches appear to be based on the 2018 version of the LASD Facilities Master Plan.

Meets CBE Minimum Guidelines?

These school building square footage ‘requirements’ at the end of this article appear to be a California Board of Education minimum guideline.  [Bullis Charter School was not seriously consulted about whether the building would meet the needs of their education program.]  The Gelfand sketches for Kohls 10th site do not appear to meet the CDE requirements for outdoor areas – blacktop, fields, apparatus, covered lunch area –  for a 900 student school as described in the 2018 version of the LASD Facilities Master Plan.

IMPORTANT: These Kohls 10th site Sketches are NOT a plan. They are concepts.  Illustrations of alleged feasibility.

See our post about the Aug. 27 meeting, the wrap meeting of the 10th Site Advisory Task Force.

Kohls 10th site today as seen from N. Showers Drive entry to the shopping center

A view of the Lasd Kohls 10th site taken from Showers driive

The Kohls sign is behind Game Stop. The driveway is approximately the Hetch Hetchy pipeline easement and is not part of the LASD 9.5 acres. The almost completed hotel in the distance marks the boundary where a 2.0 acre MV City park is likely to be established.

 And below is a bird’s eye view of this corner of the parcel with a 900 student school, a sketch as prepared by Gelfand.

Lalahpolitico has added the text overlays to help you, the reader get oriented.


Kohls 10th site with 900 student school sketched on it

The District says a 900 student school in 3 stories could be situated up close on the corner of Showers and California Street. Notice how the 60-70 foot tall hotel and parking structure at the rear of the site are omitted. The school blacktop play space seems small. The field space is on the left also seems small. It is unclear where the 2-acre City of MVpark is going to go- probably that blurry area near the Parking Structure. The District has recently agreed in principle to build a gym to share with the City of MV, and that building is not shown here. UPDATE Oct. 10, 2018:  No, the school will NOT be using the park at all for its program.


Below a different Kohls 10th site building configuration for 900 students, and a different point of view of the parcel


Kohls 10th site a possible 900 student school layout with emphasis on the City Park

In this sketch, there appears to be no separation between parkland on the right and the school green fields space. There appears to be even less usable school blacktop?! The area with shades of red would be a snazzy park gathering place?  UPDATE Oct. 10, 2018:  No, the school will NOT be using the park at all for its program.

And here below is a third sketch, this time a 600 student school on the Kohls 10th site? — zoomed out and up that shows how the 9.5-acre school and a 2.0-acre park might be situated vis a vis the seller’s entire land holdings. The owner is Federal Realty Trust, FRT.

kohls 10th site 600 student, NEC school

How a 600 student school might be situated. Fields without park 4.1 ac., with park 6.1 ac.. Blacktop 1.2 acres. K play 8000 sf, 100 parking spaces. UPDATE Oct. 10, 2018:  No, the school will NOT be using the park at all for its program.

What are the Environs like around Kohls?

Answer: Hotel, fitness club, movie theatre, office building, etc.

In the photo below, on the left is the hotel – almost completed –  and the parking structure …as seen from the Walmart/small strip mall parking are

Walmart parking lot, Kohls 10th site

Hotel on the left, parking structure on right…as seen from the Walmart parking lot



Now let’s walk out to the corner of where the Hyatt hotel is almost finished.

Hyatt hotel next to Kohls 10th site

It’s a Hyatt Hotel

And in the photo below, now let’s look back towards Shower Drive and the Kohls 10th site.

Kohls 10th site looking from Hetch hetchy pipeline easement at the new dog park, back towards Show drive on the horizon

We are standing on top of the Hetch Hetchy pipeline easement next to and under the new dog park. The Kohls 10th site parcel is twice as wide here along Pachetti Lane – left to right in front of us — as it is out on Showers Drive…here unseen on the horizon. We can see 24-hour fitness on the right. We are standing on top of the Hetch Hetchy pipeline easement to take this photo.


The District ‘condemnation’ process of this Kohls 10th site parcel is only evicting tenants in the buildings that stretch from Game Stop to Joanna’s fabrics. In contrast, 24-hour fitness is assumed to be staying for the duration of its lease.  Walmart is said to have a 30-year lease.

Will Preserving Pacchetti Way Mitigate School Traffic?

One of the boundaries of the Kohls 10th site

Today Pacchetti Way runs from the Cal Train tracks to California Ave., though San Antonio Center all the way to El Camino. It has the character of being more of an alley than a street and is rather narrow. Is it being preserved when the school and park are built?


And above is a photo of  Pacchetti Way on the boundary of the Kohls 10th site parcel.  Is it being destroyed or preserved?

At one point historical time, Pacchetti Way was expected to cross El Camino at Sherwood Ave. into the City of Los Altos. Notice how it was preserved in the Crossings townhome development.

Kohls 10th site - Pacchetti Way worth preserving?

At one time in the past it appears it was possible to take Pacchetti way across El Camino — before medians — to Sherwood Ave. and enter the City of Los Altos. Perhaps 50 years ago or more?

Below is a photo of the dog park along Pacchetti way and next to the new hotel.

This dog park is next to the Kohls 10th site

Part of the new City of MV dog park on top of the Hetch Hetchy pipeline easement


Los Altos Politico Bottom line:

Lalahpolitico thinks the increase in site size from 9.5 acres to an effective 11.5 acres, and the milder traffic make this Kohls 10th site parcel much better than Safeway-Old Mill…for an NEC neighborhood school or for Egan Jr. High.  Yet some people think this Kohls 10th site is just as inauspicious as the Safeway-Old Mill site or 5150 El Camino; they don’t think NEC should host any public school at all – not NEC not Egan Jr. High; it’s too commercial and urban they say.

Clearly, our elected LASD trustees are very unpopular with some residents. The majority of the trustees persist in buying new land rather than using existing land, and some people don’t like that.

quote about dogs being better than elected officials


Lalahpolitico: But if the District can get the Kohls 10th site for a low price – thanks to the sale of development rights and park money from the City of MV – perhaps this is a window of opportunity. Perhaps the District will NOT have to use up all the Measure N bond money on this Kohls 10th site project. Perhaps there is some creative financing that will allow the acquisition of the land and perhaps even the construction of a school without touching Measure N funds.

Superintendent for Business, Randy Kenyon expects transaction documents for Kohls 10th site deal to be signed by the end of the year. Only then will he reveal the cards in his hand.

Prospects for Peace look Poor

Bullis Charter School board members recently decided to grow the school from 900 students to 1200 students.  [Presumably growing gradually over several years by adding 2 or 3 of strands of kindergartners starting next year ]. They informed the district of that decision by letter a few months ago. It will be 2 or more years – best case – before a school building is ready at the Kohls 10th site. In the meantime, the existing 5-year facilities agreement is over next June.

Is the BCS-LASD 5-year truce over, so back to the warfare trenches?

Lalahpolitico: It seems likely the charter will choose to return to the annual Prop 39 facilities process, rather than accept a “bad deal” for a longer-term arrangement.  The charter may insist that what is ‘reasonably equivalent’ needs to be recalculated because the District enrollment has shrunk. The charter will hammer on getting a more equitable share of acres of open space.  After all with 250 students on 10 acres at Gardner in LAH, how can it be reasonably equivalent to put 900 students on 9.5 or even 11.5 acres at the Kohls 10th site? At most 600 students should be placed on Kohls to be reasonably equivalent.

Lalahpolitico: The community should anticipate that BCS might remain split on 2 sites. Even though BCS might be forced to Kohls in spite of their preferences, they will need to retain space at Egan or Blach. 600 BCS students on Kohls and 300 – growing to 600  – on Blach is one possibility.

Lalahpolitico: The best solution to achieve community peace is to use Kohls for a NEC neighborhood school or for Egan.  The Mountain View part of the District deserves a school. And then to place the entire 900– growing to 1200 —  students BCS students on Egan or Covington.  Both those campuses are over 15 acres and can accommodate 1200.



Here is the square footage inventory that was presented August 27, 2018, with the Gelfand sketches for the Kohls 10th site.

This is the square footage that is the basis for the Gelfand architects building sketches


For purposes of comparison, let’s look at the footage inventory that included in the 2018 revision of the LASD Facilities Master Plan Document. You will see that the building square footage is virtually identical in the two inventory documents, but the exterior “developed land” section is totally missing in the Aug 27, 2018 document.

Looking at the Master Plan document below, with the recommended acres for a 900 student school being 21 for a single story and 18 for a two-story, I estimate it would be 15 acres at least for a 3-story 900 student school.


And here is the inventory in the 2018 Facilities Master Plan document

From the 2018 LASD Facilities Master Plan. Minimum state requirements for a 900 student school. Notice how much land is recommended for a 900 student school. 21, 18, and 15!?


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.