In anticipation of plans to build a new solar structure in the Amador Valley High School parking lot this summer, Pleasanton Unified School District issued an online survey to Amador parents last week and are asking for public input on the project.
Plans have been in motion since last year to re-orient the parking lot on Santa Rita Road and add “a long-term source of renewable energy,” said PUSD deputy superintendent Micaela Ochoa in an email to the Amador community on April 19.
The district expects to save approximately $1.8 million in energy costs over the structure’s 25-year lifespan, while reducing the school’s carbon footprint, improving pedestrian safety and providing covered parking for students. A concept design is available.
Work is scheduled to start in June after students have gone home for the summer, but district officials “expect a significant impact to parking availability at the beginning of the school year, as construction for the parking lot will potentially be ongoing through October 2019.”
Neighbors are also concerned about the loss of more than 400 parking spaces during construction and how it will impact them. The district is “looking at all possible options to mitigate this temporary and significant impact” with the city and related organizations, including options to expedite construction.
City traffic engineer Mike Tassano told the Weekly that staff “made a bunch of recommendations, but most have not panned out” for various reasons. Some ideas included using the softball field for parking but that was rejected by school district officials. District spokesperson Patrick Gannon said bussing in students from remote parking lots is "an option we’re considering."
Originally the city suggested that the school hold off on the project until next year, but deadlines threatened $650,000 of state Proposition 39 funding for the project.
For the moment, about 50 parking spaces will be available for staff on the first day of the 2019-20 school year and no plan for what to do about the other 400 that will be out of commission.
The school district recently asked staff if removing permit parking across the east side of Santa Rita Road during construction is possible. However, Tassano thinks it’s unlikely because the program was added several years ago in response to residents complaining about students parking in their neighborhood.
“We don’t receive complaints from residents on use of that program so we wouldn’t think to remove it,” Tassano said, adding that permit parking might instead be expanded to include the west side of Santa Rita. Staff members plan to speak with neighbors in the next six weeks to “be proactive in our approach.” Should residents wish to pursue a permit parking program, staff would approach the Pleasanton City Council early this summer to take action.
The district thanked the community “for your patience and understanding in the coming months and next school year” and said they will continue providing updates and organizing times to discuss the project with residents. Construction is expected to wrap by the end of this year.
The online survey that was due to expire April 22 was for parents. Students and staff would also be given a chance to provide feedback, according to PUSD officials. They are asking community members to contact PUSD directly with their input.