Palo Alto Weekly

News - April 29, 2011

News Digest

Stanford debuts 'cutting edge' Knight business center

A new state-of-the-art business-school complex spearheaded by Nike founder Philip H. Knight will open at Stanford University on April 29.

The 360,000-square-foot, eight-building Knight Management Center at the Graduate School of Business is central to Stanford's green-energy and climate-action vision and a new style of 21st-century business education, officials said.

Knight, a Stanford MBA who graduated in 1962, contributed $105 million to the $345 million project. It was the largest gift ever to a business school at the time, according to the university.

The complex is the centerpiece of the university's energy- and potable-water reduction strategy, which is far more stringent than the state's, said Fahmida Ahmed, associate director of Stanford's Office of Sustainability.

The Knight buildings are expected to expend 45 percent less energy and use 80 percent less potable water, compared to a building of its type, she said.

The buildings can achieve the highest LEED Platinum rating for environmental sustainability from the U.S. Green Building Council. They include photovoltaic panels to supply 12.5 percent of the complex's energy from solar, daylight illumination for 90 percent of workspaces, efficient under-floor air-distribution systems and heat-recapturing systems and rainwater capture.

The April 29 opening features an open house for the general public from 2 to 5 p.m. Festivities include a debate on leadership by Graduate School of Business staff, music by the Stanford Band and campus a cappella groups, refreshments and prizes.

The center is located at 655 Knight Way, Stanford.

Ravenswood seeks parcel tax, braces for cuts

Voters in East Palo Alto and eastern Menlo Park have until Tuesday (May 3) to mail in their ballots for a parcel tax in the Ravenswood City School District.

Passage of the tax, which requires a two-thirds majority vote, would help to lift the school district out of a disastrous budget hole, supporters said.

The specter of class sizes rising from 20 to as high as 30 — or the addition of five to 10 "furlough days" in which schools would close — haunts the district if some of the possible budget scenarios were to come true.

The parcel tax, Measure B, asks voters to renew an existing $98-per-parcel-per-year tax and to add another $98, bringing the total to $196 per parcel per year.

If passed, Measure B would generate about $1.2 million for the district.

Currently, the district is planning for a $3.2 million — or 17 percent — cut to its $18 million unrestricted operating budget for 2011-12, district Business Manager Megan Curtis said.

Additionally, the district receives about $22 million in highly targeted federal and state "categorical funds" to address specific conditions, including poverty and the more than 60 percent of students who are English language learners.

The projections for a 17 percent operating cut are based on the $330-per-student cut envisioned by Gov. Jerry Brown in January, Curtis said.

Council balks at 'Village at San Antonio Center'

The Mountain View City Council decided not to give final approval of a major redevelopment project at San Antonio Shopping Center Tuesday (April 26), saying that the design had clearly not been finished.

Council members said they weren't interested in approving the project Tuesday after a representative for the developer read a long list of changes that they wanted to be made to the project. The changes made it "as clear as mud" what the project would be, said council member Ronit Bryant. City staff had also proposed a number of changes to the project just days before the meeting.

In the most ambitious redevelopment of San Antonio Shopping Center since it was built in the 1950s, San Francisco-based Merlone Geier has proposed the redevelopment of one-third of the 56-acre shopping center, a 16.3-acre portion that extends from Sears to Rite Aid at the corner of San Antonio Road and El Camino Real.

The "Village at San Antonio Center" would include a one-acre park, 325 to 350 rental apartments and 311,000 square feet of retail space, including a new Safeway grocery store. It was announced Tuesday that Rite Aid is no longer part of the project.

In the last 40 minutes of the four-hour discussion, at around 11 p.m., council members gave some feedback on the project, adjusting building locations and street frontages, moving driveways and increasing park and sidewalk space, but not making the fundamental changes to the design that a number of residents suggested.

Merlone Geier said the new development would employ 900 people and provide a "net increase" to the city's sales tax revenue of $1.2 million. All of those employees would receive subsidized transit passes for three years from Merlone Geier.

— Daniel DeBolt

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