Parks & Rec Planning

Hillview Taskforce decides Space Allocation Aug. 23

Don't we wish we could afford the MV Senior Center Building...
Written by lalahpolitico

On Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017 between 9am and 1 pm the Hillview Taskforce is going to decide on 1) a space allocation for  flex space vs. architecturally dedicated space and,   2) a set of site layout concepts. The meeting is at the Social Hall at the current Hillview Community Center.  The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

Perhaps the Hillview Taskforce and the community-at-large want to grasp firmly some poorly understood aspects about existing conditions.

Here are some surprising facts relevant to Recreation at Hillview Community Center the Hillview Taskforce may want to consider…

  • The largest tenant at Hillview is probably the MVLA Adult School, which is  part of the MVLA High School District.
  • Children’s Corner is probably the second largest tenant at Hillview. The City of Mountain View leases its City-owned Mountain View Childcare Center to an outside provider, LearningLinks Preschool.
  • This fall session MVLA Adult school is providing 27 courses AT HILLVIEW for 55+ . These are advertised only in the MVLA Adult brochure, not the City of Los Altos Rec. brochure. The courses mostly use rooms 16, 17, 18.
  • This fall session, the City of Los Altos Recreation is programming  ~60 courses at Hillview with only about 7 of them for 50+. These are courses in the City Fall brochure.
  • The City’s Senior Program at Hillview consists of 1000 feet of dedicated space in a Rm 10  lounge and another 2000 in 2 flex rooms… Rm 11 and Rm 12 next door.  Room 12 has only one non-senior course using it this fall.  Thus, the Senior Program enjoys a total virtual space of 3000 currently. The Social Hall and the MPR also are used around once a week for a City senior activity.
  • Besides leasing city- owned facilities to private preschool and childcare providers, the City of Mountain View has a city-run preschool program almost identical to the city-run one here in Los Altos—located at San Antonio Club, NOT at Hillview. Both cities have a preschool class for three years olds and a preschool class for 4 year old.  However, Los Altos is unique because it has very recently added a type of Transitional Kindergarten for older four-year olds called Kinderprep–it takes up  space at Hillview. How many toddler bathrooms are there now at Hillview? Two or more?

The MVLA Adult Fall Courses

City architect planning documents from 2014-15 list MVLA Adult School as one of the large tenants at Hillview.  Let’s look more closely at the courses MVLA Adult School offers at City of Los Altos owned facilities — aka Hillview.  [MVLA Adults School calls the location Hillview Senior Center even though it never uses Rm 10, 11 or 12.  ]

The Hillview Taskforce should know that Lalahpolitico counted 27  MVLA Adults School courses (excluding hiking) which take place at Hillview.  They are all listed as 55+ with senior discounts.  They are mainly in Rooms 16, 17, and 18.  This fall Los Altos Recreation is providing 7 senior courses delivered by contractors. So is the MVLA Adult School an important provider of programming for senior adults or not? See/get a .pdf of the course brochure here.


What is MVLA Adult School? It runs a GED program for teens and young adults, but it also has career training and these enrichment courses too. It is part of MVLA High School Dstrict


Courses offered at Hillview are circled in red.


Hillview Classes circled in red


Classes offered at Hillview Circled in red



Hillview located courses in red


Hillview Taskforce, look at the Senior Program here

The activities on these two pages below are provided by City of Los Altos employees and perhaps some volunteers. They are separate from the 7 contractor courses targeting 50+ age group this fall at Hillview. This Hillview Taskforce should know that senior activities are provided by both the City and  the tenant, MVLA Adult School, as well as a few contractors.


Page 30 of the City of Los Altos Recreation Brochure

Page 30 of the City of Los Altos Recreation Brochure


Page 31 of City of Los Altos fall brochure


A look at City-owned MV Childcare Center Building

The tenant here previously was Kindercare, a chain. Now it is Learning Links, which is part of a local non-profit chain Gatepath – – which caters to the developmentally disabled, aka “special needs” children and even adults.

In 1993 the City of Mountain View apparently added several NEW buildings to its Rengtorff park ( which is maybe 80 acres? guessing). The new buildings were a Senior Center, A Childcare Center, and a Elder Daycare Center.

Los Altos has only 18 acres on its entire civic center. The Hillview portion of the 18 is about 6 acres. Furthermore, Los Altos does not have the tax base of Mountain View. THE POINT HERE IS that the City of Mountain View created millions of dollars worth of city-owned facilities in 1993 on Rengstorff Park that it chooses to lease out to private non-profits…even including operations like Kindercare.

The Hillview Taskforce should know that neighboring cities besides Mountain View regularly allow outside childcare providers to lease city-owned land and facilities. This is not a strange or bizarre practice.

So take a look at the MV pics.

Here is a shot of the stand along City of Mountain View owned Childcare Center


Here is a view of the City of Mountain View Childcare Centerfrom another vantage point. It is a standalone building. Probably 3000 square feet or more.


Here is the fenced 2000 or so square feet of the main outdoor play area for the City of Mountain View Childcare Center. It is open to the public on weekends. For the 2017-2018 year it is leased to LearningLinks preschool.

Lessons from the MV Senior Center

Here is a very wide angle, panoramic shot of the Mountain View senior center with the elder daycare building – Avenidas – on the right

There are some lessons for the Hillview Taskforce to be gleaned from the MV Senior Center. Lalahpolitico visited at about 3:30 pm on a weekday earlier this week. In the lobby there were 3 or 4 pairs of seniors chatting or playing cards and other table games. It was pretty dead at that time of day, except for the “dedicated” billard room. It was full of 60+ gentlemen who bring their own custom cues. Must be a pool shark tank in there!


There were no classes — like knitting or flower arranging —  in session at this hour. Here are serveral shots of other “dedicated” rooms that were unused at this hour.

The dedicated exercise equipment room was entirely empty at 3:30 pm


The dedicated dance / movement room was entirely empty at 3: 30


The dedicated computer room had about 12 stations and about 2 users at 3: 30 pm

Lalahpolitico: The message here for the Hillview Taskforce is that Los Altos most likely cannot afford this high a proportion of  architecturally “dedicated” space — maybe >60% at MV Sr. Center — which often goes unused. It seems more prudent to maximize flexible space here at Hillview.

Elder Daycare – A Tenant of City of Mountain View

Here is a photo of the door to “outside contractor” or perhaps “tenant”, who occupies the Elder daycare facility next to the Senior Center owned by the City of Mountain View.

The door to Elder Daycare provided by Avenidas — by contract with the City of Mountain View

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.