UPDATE: The board voted 5-0 on Tuesday, Feb. 26, to affirm its priorities for the Cubberley Community Center master plan.
The Palo Alto school board is set to take action on Tuesday to formalize the school district's desires for three key future uses of Cubberley Community Center: a new school, staff housing and a central district office.
The school district is currently engaged in a joint master planning process for Cubberley with the city of Palo Alto, led by consultants who have solicited public feedback in recent months through community design meetings. A draft master plan based on that feedback is set to be completed this summer.
While Palo Alto Unified owns the majority of the 35-acre site on Middlefield Road, the district feels less urgency in building something there now, while the city is eager to reinvigorate the aging complex with community suggestions for everything from a community garden and wellness center to a swimming pool, dog park, art gallery and theater.
Given enrollment uncertainty and other factors, the school district's needs are less concrete at this point, but board members have emphasized the need to preserve Palo Alto Unified's future options at Cubberley, one of the last major underdeveloped pieces of land in Palo Alto. Staff are recommending that the board agree that the master plan needs to accommodate the construction of a potential middle or high school, if needed; housing for school employees; and a new site for district operations.
"Although the future cannot be predicted, we must provide for space to build a possible new middle or high school, if it is needed. Given the real property market, there will be little chance that PAUSD can compete successfully to acquire real property of the size of Cubberley in the future," a staff report states.
The board is also starting to examine if and how the district could provide housing for teachers and staff, having recently taken the first step toward participating in a Santa Clara County-led affordable housing project for regional school districts.
Relocating the district office, which is currently located at 25 Churchill Ave., "would allow for better work flow space, professional development facilities and community access," the staff report states. The current district office could then be used for "innovative and targeted programs for students," particularly given its close proximity to Palo Alto High School.
The Cubberley consultants updated the board members on their progress at the Feb. 12 school board meeting. Board members urged the consultants to seek out families with young children and other constituents who might have been unable to attend the evening community meetings to solicit feedback before the process is over, as well as asked how shared use of the facilities would work before and after the district builds its own facilities.
The draft master plan will include several conceptual design alternatives, cost estimates and phasing scenarios. The Board of Education and City Council are expected to review the draft master plan together in a joint meeting.
The fourth and final community co-design meeting is scheduled for May 9 at 7 p.m. the Cubberley Community Center Pavilion, 4000 Middlefield Road. For more information and to register, go to eventbrite.com or pausd.org/cubberley.
In other business Tuesday, the school board will discuss a proposal to expand transitional kindergarten; review Superintendent Don Austin's proposed districtwide plan, the "PAUSD Promise;" and hear a progress update on Stanford University's general use permit, including why talks between the district and Stanford have stalled, according to a staff report.
The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at 25 Churchill Ave. View the full agenda here.