Push may finally be coming to shove on the fate of Palo Alto's treasured but dilapidated Cubberley Community Center.
The Palo Alto City Council Monday will consider whether to pursue negotiations on a possible deal with the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, as the district looks to buy acreage to build "a state-of-the-art educational facility."
Also next week, the Palo Alto Unified School District Board of Education will hold an open discussion of Cubberley after pondering the Middlefield Road parcel for weeks behind closed doors.
Foothill for years has leased space in five buildings at Cubberley, serving about 4,000 students in its satellite Middlefield Campus. Now it appears ready to either purchase and upgrade some Cubberley land -- or build its new Foothill-De Anza Education Center elsewhere.
Foothill is eyeing eight acres at Cubberley's northern edge that are owned by the City of Palo Alto. Cubberley's remaining 27 acres are owned by the Palo Alto Unified School District.
The school district closed Cubberley High School due to declining enrollment in 1979, and the campus became a community center in a lease arrangement with the city, with Foothill as the anchor tenant.
Part of the eight acres sought by Foothill is currently leased at low cost for community activities, including artists' and dance studios.
Foothill-De Anza set a midsummer deadline for expressions of interest from various parties, including private brokers and the City of Sunnyvale, so it can move forward with building a campus.
The college district says it plans a facility that will serve Silicon Valley "through programs and partnerships that seamlessly transition individuals from high school to community college to the university and the workplace as well as offering a rich array of lifelong learning opportunities."
On Monday, the council will consider a recommendation by City Manager James Keene to submit a "letter of interest" to Foothill by mid-July.
The letter would indicate an interest in "pursuing discussions" with Foothill-De Anza -- in no way constituting a sale at this point.
But the school district -- now confronting a trend of fast-rising enrollment -- has indicated it wants the entire Cubberley campus to stay on tap as possible K-12 expansion space.
In a June 24 letter to City Manager Keene, school Superintendent Kevin Skelly referred to concerns about "the district's finite capacity" to accommodate enrollment growth as well as "how Foothill-De Anza's proposed operations and proposed parking needs would successfully coexist with a future K-12 school site."
The school board will hold its discussion of Cubberley at its meeting Tuesday, June 28.
Should the city decide to sell the parcel to Foothill-DeAnza, the Palo Alto school district would have the first right of refusal, a city staff report notes. The district would need to decide within 90 days whether to buy the land, which would be at current market value.