Publication Date: Friday Jan 26, 2001
PALO ALTO: Land-swap agreement proposed for TermanDistrict would get Terman, city would get part of Cubberley
by Jennifer Deitz Berry
The city of Palo Alto and the Palo Alto Unified School District have come up with a land-swap deal that will allow the school district to take over the city-owned Terman Community Center site in exchange for the Cubberley Community Center site. "It looks like we're nearing the end of a long, long road," said School Board President, John Tuomy. "I'm really pleased."
Superintendent Don Phillips and City Manager Frank Benest released a joint memo yesterday recommending that the City Council and school board approve a conceptual agreement to exchange property.
According to the terms of the agreement, no money would need to exchange hands. Instead, effective September 2002, the district will trade 7.97 acres of property on the northern side of Cubberley Community Center for the 7.97 acres of city-owned property at the Terman site, which is now being leased to the Albert L. Schultz Jewish Community Center. The agreement calls for Terman to be empty by Sept. 1, 2002, to make it possible for the district to begin renovations on the Terman site and open up the space as a third middle school by fall 2003.
The school district, according to the conceptual agreement, must give the city two years' notice if it needs to open a small high school at Cubberley, in a section now occupied by Foothill College. Under that plan, the city's lease payment to the school district would be reduced by the same amount as the revenue lost by Foothill leaving.
The school district would have use of more than seven acres of playing fields at Terman. If the city's Cubberley lease expires, it would have joint use of 7.66 acres of playing fields at Cubberley.
In a previous agreement with the school district, Stanford University has agreed to donate $10 million to aid in renovations or improvements of a middle school site, and has also offered up campus-owned property on the corner of Page Mill Road and El Camino Real known as the "Mayfield site" to house the JCC, which will be displaced from the Terman site once renovations start.
The land swap is also contingent on Stanford University and the city reaching agreement on a long-term lease for the Mayfield site.
"I think what pleases me most is that this was an opportunity for the superintendent of schools and the city manager to spend some time on a very significant issue and come up with a thoughtful, well-reasoned solution," said Tuomy. "To be a win-win, you have to give-give."
Phillips said another important aspect of the agreement is its emphasis on joint use of facilities to the benefit of both students and local residents.
The city and school district will come up with an agreement to jointly use the Terman gym, pool, fields and other facilities. The city will continue to operate the Terman branch library until the two parties can come up with a long-term plan for joint use of the library.
"This (agreement) meets both the educational and community service needs of the community," said Phillips.
The terms negotiated would also allow for the district to open a small high school on the Cubberley site if the need should arise in future years, as long as the district provides two-years' advance notice.
The conceptual agreement will be presented for discussion at a special joint meeting with of the school board and City Council Monday night. It will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 29, at the district headquarters, which are located at 25 Churchill Ave. in Palo Alto.