If the City of Palo Alto were to sell its eight-acre portion of Cubberley to the district, the deal could net $35 million, according to a City Council Finance Committee report. A lease could bring in $1.8 million per year.
The district's Board of Trustees was scheduled to hear a report from its property negotiators on Tuesday, after the Weekly's deadline. The Palo Alto City Council also planned to hear details at a public study session Tuesday night.
Early plans show a 99,500-sqaure-foot educational center — nearly double the approximately 55,000 square feet of space the district currently rents from the city as its Middlefield Campus.
Preliminary sketches depict a two-story building radiating in three wings out from a circular central atrium. The facility would house classrooms and joint-use public facilities including a dance studio, art programming space, child development center and community meeting space, City Manager Frank Benest said.
The site-plan layouts are preliminary and subject to change, he said.
All buildings on the eight acres would be torn down, but the tennis courts and fields would remain, he said.
"Our goals are to maintain community-center functions and playing fields and replace some of these dilapidated facilities," he said.
The city hasn't decided whether to sell or rent, he said. A long-term lease could last up to 25 years, he added.
Foothill district spokesperson Becky Bartindale said the district is in preliminary talks with the city and not in negotiations.
"We're committed to providing better facilities for students who want to go to Foothill in that area," Bartindale said.
Cubberley is one option, since the community college already offers classes there.
"The district would like it to be at Cubberley, but we'll look at anything" that provides the needed space, she added.
The district is currently on a year-to-year lease, she said. About 4,000 students take classes at the Middlefield Campus a quarter.
The project is designed to accommodate a 2 percent enrollment growth over 10 years, said Andy Dunn, vice chancellor of business for the college district.
The consideration of Cubberley has been in the works for nearly a year, according to Bartindale. The district's Board of Trustees approved an agreement with tBP/Architecture on March 5, 2007, to begin an assessment process at the Middlefield campus.
On Nov. 5, 2007, the board approved an agreement with tBP to do a feasibility study of the Cubberley site and to evaluate any alternative sites, as needed. tBP was asked to prepare site plans and options for building locations, parking, car and pedestrian access, and conceptual floor plans for a maximum two-story building at Cubberley, she said. The firm was also asked to evaluate any alternative sites identified by the district, including evaluating infrastructure and buildings to prepare for possible property acquisition.
Cubberley was constructed in 1955 as a high school but became a community center when the school was shut down in 1979 due to declining enrollment.
The city has owned the Cubberley land since a 2002 swap with the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD), in which the district acquired the Terman Middle School site in exchange.
The parcel is adjacent to the Charleston Shopping Center at the northern end of Cubberley.
The city leases the other 27.45 acres from PAUSD for about $4 million a year, Benest said.
Benest initially told the Weekly the potential price hadn't been discussed, but he later confirmed the $35 million estimate that appeared in a report prepared by him and other city officials.
The construction alone would cost the college district $30 to 40 million, funded by the $490.8 million district bond Measure C passed in June 2006, Benest said.
Because bond funds are involved, the Foothill-De Anza district would either have to own the land or have a long-term lease, Bartindale said.
Current tenants of the city-owned parcel would not be displaced but rather housed in the Middlefield Campus buildings when the college vacates them after construction, Benest said.
But where tenants would go during construction of the center, before Foothill vacates its campus, is yet to be discussed, he said.
The city would have to shoulder some of the costs of building more parking lots and moving tenants from one part of Cubberley to another, but those costs haven't been calculated yet, Benest said.
If the council approves the plan, the city will hold public meetings to gather community input, Benest said. The project would take at least two and a half years to complete, including up to nine months for environmental review, he said.