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Full Foothill campus at Cubberley likely a no-go

Original post made on Aug 5, 2008

Plans for a stately and state-of-the-art new campus built by the Foothill-De Anza Community College District at Palo Alto's Cubberley Community Center may have finally sputtered out Monday after months of losing steam.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, August 4, 2008, 10:50 PM

Comments (24)

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 5, 2008 at 12:02 pm

This decision may end up being a godsend for PAUSD. A split campus sometime in the future may be our ideal. This was, it can be done together with both uses planned and developed at the same time.


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Posted by Jenny
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 5, 2008 at 1:02 pm

"Sports and athletics programs such as basketball, dance and yoga should remain at the Middlefield facilities" Foothill College President Judy Miner said Monday.

This is the time for those who advocate allowing Palo Alto's Basketball teams have use of the gymnasiums at Cubberley should speak up. In 2009 the JCC will be moving out and presumably leaving some gymnasium facilities empty in which case it looks like Foothill College may wish to have a long term lease on them.

Before any lease agreements are signed Palo Alto basketball advocates speak up.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 5, 2008 at 3:09 pm

An extremely short-sighted and unfortunate decision - both from fiscal and social impact perspectives.

Council members who have sworn not to sell Cubberly have not done their homework.

Here is a perfect example of how PAUSD and the City Council fail to coordinate on issues that will realize great advantage in the future, based on projections for educational demand; new changes in educational and curriculum structure; adult education (including senior education), and workplace retraining.

Our city is going to lose a _lot_ of long-term dollar benefit from this short-sighted decision.


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Posted by You-Can't-
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 5, 2008 at 9:43 pm

> Council members who have sworn not to sell Cubberly
> have not done their homework

The City owns a couple of acres of this site--but the bulk of it is owned by the PAUSD.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 5, 2008 at 10:49 pm

"The City owns a couple of acres of this site--but the bulk of it is owned by the PAUSD."

That's something that this writer is painfully aware of; it's reflected in my statement above. This is a loss of _major_ proportions by policy-makers from both the city and PAUSD. It's a decision driven by short-term fear, and lack of long-term vision.

For all the reasons stated above, and many more, this is an extremely short-sighted decision, and a long-term _loss_ for our city.

Education is changing as we speak; new educational constituencies are popping up like mushrooms, with community colleges mandated to fill the need.

The inter-institutional benefits that could exist between a high-reputation community college like Foothill, and PAUSD, are simply enormous.

Where is the necessary coordination and business development chops on opportunities like this; it's simply maddening to see our city, and our future citizens, miss this opportunity.



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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 5, 2008 at 10:51 pm

Web Link


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Posted by Jenny
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 6, 2008 at 5:53 am

You Can't: Cubberley has a total of 36 acres. 27+ acres are owned by the PAUSD and 8+ acres are owned by the City. The City pays the School District between $4 - $6 Million a year to lease the School District's 27 acres which include the playing fields. Meanwhile the City still owns the playing fields at Terman but the School District does not pay the City anything to use them.


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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 6, 2008 at 6:19 am

Anonymous: Palo Alto School District children are so smart they all go to four year colleges, they don't need a two year junior college system in this town!!!

Frankly, I don't blame Foothill College for moving on and building in another City further South where their facilities will be much appreciated.

As a neighbor of Cubberley I'm very disappointed. Every day I look out at that decaying facility. Cubberley was built at a time when asbestos and lead paint was used extensively in construction. Sometime soon those dilapidated buildings will have to be scraped, and who will pay to replace them?




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Posted by Albert
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 6, 2008 at 7:15 am

> this is an extremely short-sighted decision, and a
> long-term _loss_ for our city

Distance learning will change the need for community colleges --which currently consume almost as many dollars as the UC and CALSTATE systems together.

Building any campus is a waste of taxpayer dollars--its a shame that this proposal might actually be built at all.


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Posted by Exlain this, please
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 6, 2008 at 4:25 pm

" this is an extremely short-sighted decision, and a

long-term _loss_ for our city"

I don't understand this. Isn't it clear that more housing is coming bringing more elementary/middle/high school students? And that the school district does not have many options?

Why is this short-sighted and a long-term loss?

The linked article basically says, "community colleges are good. We should have more of them."

How does that translate into a a benefit for the city to build one?


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 6, 2008 at 4:50 pm

"The linked article basically says, "community colleges are good. We should have more of them."

How does that translate into a a benefit for the city to build one?"

^^^^^
Every year, more students from PAUSD seek alternate high school curriculums offered at Community Colleges. I'm not sure of the number of PAUSD students attending full or part time at Foothill, Canada College, etc.etc., but it's not insignificant.

High School students are always seeking more study and curriculum options, especially in places like Palo Alto. Talk about killing a golden goose!

If we had a Foothill Campus here, many PAUSD students (and private school students) would utilize it. Programs could be created that take some of the pressure off upper grade enrollment within PAUSD.

Community colleges are also a focal point for worker retraining in areas like biotech, biomedicine, nursing, mechanical trades (which pay pretty darned well around here), and so on.

The idea of "partnering" with outside entities of substance, in substantial ways, appear anathema to city operations.

How is it that we don't have _regular_ high level conversations _among_ senior PAUSD, City, and FHFA executives about what something like this could bring to our city, and work with FHDA to leverage opportunities in ways that profit our local institutions - including educational, social, and other?

It's so frustrating to see things like this turned down for reasons like "we want to protect our assets" when multiple leverage points have not been openly considered (and not even brought to the community).

So what are we left with? A dilapidated dinosaur of a structure that serves far _less_ people than Foothill would serve.

So, just like when we dropped the ball on the Stanford Performing Arts Center, we lose another chance to put a crown jewel in place. One wonders about the claim that Palo Alto is forward-looking, when magnificent opportunities like this are turned away be those who appear unable to view obviously pregnant possibility - ironically the very same people who are charged with taking our city and school systems _forward_.




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Posted by eric
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 6, 2008 at 5:05 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

I pray that Foothill ends up doing something in my fine town. The MV-LA high school district will benefit hugely-- tons of high school kids will be able to supplement their education with concurrent enrollment at a higher level. Expanded arts and cultural collaboration between the schools, the community and Foothill. Probably some minor ancillary benefits to the business community. And based on the proposed locations I've heard, minimal traffic impact!!


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Posted by Dream On
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 6, 2008 at 6:53 pm

Gone is the opportunity to have a Foothill College on the City's 8 acres and a PAUSD Technical High School on the 27 acres owned by the School District. What a great learning opportunity that would have been for our kids.


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Posted by Explain this, please
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 6, 2008 at 8:53 pm

still don't get it.

Why couldn't PA residents who want to attend Foothill do it in LA-MV?

Sounds like the arguments for this would apply to any city in the world.
Just doesn't make sense as an argument for, "why here?"


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Posted by Let-It-Go
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 6, 2008 at 9:02 pm

> Gone is the opportunity to have a Foothill College on the
> City's 8 acres and a PAUSD Technical High School on the
> 27 acres owned by the School District

Any idea where the funding would come from for a "Technical" HS?

People learn wherever they are. There is no "magic" here in PA.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 6, 2008 at 9:42 pm

"People learn wherever they are. There is no "magic" here in PA."

One could say the same thing about shopping. Proximity effects are powerful, as we don't live in an abstract world, just yet. Although one has to wonder, given the level of decision-making on opportunities like this.




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Posted by Jenny
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 6, 2008 at 11:54 pm

Explain this: Palo Alto has just lost a possible investment of $30 Million by Foothill College at Cubberley. This is what we voted for when we voted for the Foothill/De Anza bond measure

In other words these tax dollars will now be spent in Mountain View or Sunnyvale.


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Posted by Show-Me-The-Money
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 7, 2008 at 6:16 am

> This is what we voted for when we voted for the
> Foothill/De Anza bond measure

Not directly. And your premise that Palo Alto is "losing" $30M is really a streeeeetch .. since this would all be non-taxable, and most Palo Altans would not have any direct exposure to the "improvements", the "benefit" would be mostly illusory.

There has not ever been an attempt by Foothill to document the number of Palo Altans actually enrolled in the classes at this facility.

Oh .. and very few people actually voted for this tax. Sadly most people just didn't vote at all.


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Posted by dave
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 7, 2008 at 3:07 pm

There is an excellent return on investment for Foothill to build on the 8 acres on Middlefield. It would remove an aging, costly to maintain series of asbestos laden buildings at no cost to Palo Alto taxpayers.

Give the Foothill District a 50 year lease - no one else will invest $30 to $40 Million in that property. Certainly I don't see the City being able to afford it.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 7, 2008 at 6:05 pm

SMTM, "and most Palo Altans would not have any direct exposure to the "improvements", the "benefit" would be mostly illusory...There has not ever been an attempt by Foothill to document the number of Palo Altans actually enrolled in the classes at this facility."

Really? How about thousands of students spending money in Palo Alto? How about PAUSD students with dozens more educational options? How about retraining programs set up in biotech, nanotech, and so on?

"anonymous" is right. Why don't you look past what appears to be a very, very, very narrow vision of possibility - one that perfectly mirrors the inaction taken on massive opportunities in Palo Alto that have gone elsewhere.

We'd better open our eyes to the opportunities around us, and get our individual heads out of the sand. The Peninsula is growing up around us.

I expect you're someone who is always griping about how bad our city performs, and that we're "nice, just the way we are". And, within that perspective you and others like you manage to keep this city from becoming anything more than a dead-end of a wealthy retirement community, a status that is fast approaching. "Has been" status may be our only real future accomplishment, if we let minikin thinking dominate.

Recent developments on the City Council have helped to correct the trafic stupidity of past policy makers in the 80's and 90's. That said, we've let city development efforts die, with _no_ support at CIty Hall to coordinate the large players in opportunities like this.

There's no other phrase for this situation than "opportunity lost".


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 7, 2008 at 6:07 pm

that's "TRAGIC stupidty", (above)


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 7, 2008 at 6:07 pm

as in "stupidity" (spell checker time :)


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Posted by Parent without handles
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 7, 2008 at 6:19 pm

Many of our high school graduates opt for the two year community college/transfer route into UCs. It is much easier for them to get in when they are not competing against their Paly/Gunn peers as the UCs don't take more than a certain percentage/number from any one high school. Therefore, many of our high schoolers would also benefit from having a campus at Cubberly.

There is already a number of high schoolers attending middle college through high school which is a slightly different way to graduate for the last two years of high school. Once again, many of our high schoolers would benefit from a Foothill campus at Cubberly.

Also, Gunn is practically maxed out and Paly is not far behind. Unless the BoE decides to increase the numbers at the high schools, we are going to have enrollment problems very soon and the Cubberly campus may provide some way out.

There are many ways a joint campus could be utilized to help all the different scenarios. More technical classes as well as high tech classes could be housed at an alternative type of high school which could be run at Cubberly with the advantages that some classes could be combined with the present Foothill programs.

Not burning our boats makes some sense. Just as long as PAUSD and Foothill can work together and come up with a combined use program this could make sense. Having Foothill do their own thing with no thoughts to how it would help out PAUSD would be more worrying.


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Posted by There is no panic!!
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Aug 8, 2008 at 11:02 am

The PAUSD is not going to take their 27 acres of Cubberley back in the foreseeable future while the City continues to pay them $4 Million (rising to $6 Million) a year for use of the site.

The School District does have plans to build two story classroom pods at Gunn to increase capacity. Meanwhile, Paly has space available so overflow Gunn students will be sent to Paly. Over time they will simply increase the number of students at both Gunn and Paly, and use portable classrooms temporarily to accommodate the increased numbers.

Many High Schools in the Nation now have more than 3,000 students. There is a High School in Oakland with 3,500 students. Both Gunn and Paly have room to grow.


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