Top Palo Alto and Foothill-De Anza officials are scheduled to meet in closed session Monday night to discuss "price and terms of payment" for a potential sale of the city-owned portion of Cubberley to the Foothill-De Anza Community College District.
Foothill's objective is the same as it was when negotiations broke down two years ago — to construct a "state-of-the-art" educational center along with joint-use community facilities on the city-owned 8-acre portion of Cubberley, Foothill sources said Wednesday.
Cubberley is located at 4000 Middlefield Road.
The goal would be to upgrade or replace the 54-year-old infrastructure with modern facilities and try to work with the city and the Palo Alto Unified School District on partnerships to enhance educational opportunities, a high-level Foothill source said.
Currently, Foothill leases 40,000 square feet of Cubberley — which closed as a high school in 1979 — as its Middlefield Campus. It has more than 1,000 full-time-equivalent students.
The remaining 27 acres of Cubberley is owned by the Palo Alto Unified School District and is leased by the city for use as a community center.
Officials with Foothill and the City of Palo Alto provided few details this week about Monday's meeting.
"Foothill showed an interest in constructing a new education center on the city-owned portion of Cubberley," Assistant City Attorney Don Larkin said. "It's a continuation of some negotiations that were going on a few years ago and fell by the wayside."
In January 2008, Foothill unveiled plans for a new, 100,000-square-foot, two-story structure at Cubberley that would house the community college's growing student population. The center would focus on "college skill, career pathways and life-long learning," according to a city report. It would share a dance studio, art space and a child-development area with the city, the report states.
At the time, city staff estimated the sale price at $35 million, or $1.4 million a year (as compared with Foothill's year-to-year lease, which in 2008 generated about $800,000 a year).
The City Council discussed the idea at a study session but took no action. Most council members supported the concept, but a few — along with some residents — resisted the idea of selling any part of Cubberley. Some members discussed a long-term lease.
Foothill officials expressed a desire not to invest substantial funds into buildings on land the community-college district would not own.
Funding for the campus was to have come from the 2006 voter-approved bond Measure C, which alloted $40 million for site acquisition and construction, Foothill-De Anza trustee Bruce Swenson said at the time.
In August 2008, in the city's last discussion with the district, Foothill's executive director of facilities said the Middlefield Campus could function with half the proposed square footage, or as little as 50,000 square feet of classroom space.
Meanwhile, in March 2009 the community-college district announced a partnership with University of California, Santa Cruz, and the NASA Ames Research Center to build a new education and research center on 75 acres of land in the NASA Research Park at Moffett Field.
Monday night's council discussion with Foothill-De Anza is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. in the City Council chambers of City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave. Andy Dunn, Foothill-De Anza's vice chancellor for business services, will meet with City Manager James Keene, Deputy City Attorney Donald Larkin, Deputy City Manager Steve Emslie, Director of Administrative Services Lalo Perez and Real Property Manager Martha Miller.
Talk about it
Do you think the City of Palo Alto should sell part of Cubberley to Foothill? Share you opinion on the Town Square forum on Palo Alto Online.