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Meeting set June 16 on Foothill 'Palo Alto Campus'

Three-way meeting between Foothill-De Anza, Palo Alto and school district will explore possibilities

The future of a proposed new "Palo Alto Campus" for Foothill-De Anza Community College District will be discussed at a three-way meeting of the entities involved on June 16: the Palo Alto Unified School District, the City of Palo Alto and Foothill-De Anza officials.

The joint meeting will determine if there is sufficient interest in -- or too many barriers to -- proceeding with negotiations relating to sale or long-term lease of a portion of the Cubberley Community Center site on Middlefield Road.

The meeting has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Cubberley Community Center, 4000 Middlefield Road.

In 2008, Foothill-De Anza officials proposed buying 8 acres of the 34-acre site of the form to build a modern building within the aging Cubberley complex. The former high school site is under a long-term lease by the school district to the city, which subleases space to community-based organizations and artists. The lease provides several million dollars a year to the school district.

But the college district backed off after several City Council members said they would only consider a long-term lease, not a sale. College officials said they would look at other sites for an expanded new campus.

Yet last March they reopened discussions with hints that a lease might be possible if it's long-term enough, and they said that changed financial conditions may require a phased redevelopment of the Foothill-De Anza portion of the Cubberley site.

Mayor Pat Burt told the Weekly this week that there are many questions that all representatives have about the possibilities

He said he personally feels that keeping a close alliance with the college district potentially could be of strong benefit to students in Palo Alto high schools, some of whom already attend a "Middle College" run by the college district, where they get college credit for some classes.

"I'm impressed with the vision" of the proposed new campus and some of the ideas for joint curricula, he said.

School district officials may hold the key to whether a sale or long-term lease is possible.

Comments

Posted by John the Man, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 7, 2010 at 12:24 pm

The college should just cut bait with the city and the school district and go find their own space. As long as they have to appease those two groups, nothing they want is going to get done.

No hard feelings, let the city and the school district have the space back and do what they want (which sounds like bicker a lot with someone else or each other). There won't be a better time to get as long as a commercial lease as the college wants or to buy space as right now and over the next couple of years. Might as well go that route and rid themselves of dealing with the city and school district and attendant issues.


Posted by A Neighbor, a resident of Whisman Station
on Jun 8, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Good point John the Man. As a DeAnza student, I would like to see more classes on the Middlefield campus, but I agree the DeAnza-Foothill CCD would probably be better off if they didn't have to deal with the Palo Alto HSD and city council. The city council's position toward the college can change at anytime in the future, because people will win and lose seats on the city council. If the college bought or leased land from a private source, they would be much better off in the long run.


Posted by John the Man, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 8, 2010 at 11:00 pm

This has just been going on too long now, it's time for the college to move on. The city and school district want to hold onto the property and simply lease it out like it was a typical commercial property, which it is not and does not have a market like typical commercial property.

But they also want a say into so much detail of the property, it's simply not worth it. It's like your mother-in-law renting a house out to you, but then trying to tell you you must take your shoes off at the door as a condition of the rental agreement. Sure, you can set those types of rules but you can't expect people to want to rent from you for long... or rent from you at all.

Plus there are just too many other people to please: the city council, the school district, the neighborhood.... it's simply not worth it. And with all real estate markets really being a buyer's market, it's the best time to just find a new satellite campus and let the city and school district figure out they can't make anywhere near as much money or have anywhere near the market they think without the college.

The college has the leverage, not the city or the school district. It's time the college exercise that leverage and just rid itself of the headache that is the city and school district. Let them be someone else's problem.


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