A proposal to park hundreds of cars on the Amador Valley High School tennis courts during construction of a solar panel structure in the school's front parking lot has been scrapped after tennis coaches and families roundly panned the plan.
Danny Yee, varsity boys tennis coach at Amador, thanked Pleasanton Unified School District officials in an email last Friday for the "prompt review and response to remove tennis courts from consideration as a parking solution" after recently meeting with stakeholders to "review the issues and concerns, and make an appropriate decision."
More than 400 parking spaces will be unavailable for about 4-1/2 months while construction of the solar structure and reorientation of the Amador parking lot facing Santa Rita Road is underway. The project is scheduled to start the first week of June and is expected to continue through October.
Just 50 parking spaces for faculty will be available on the first day of the 2019-20 school year, according to PUSD, prompting the recent exploration of alternative parking options for remaining staff members and several hundred students.
Some ideas like using the junior varsity softball fields were dismissed, as was potentially renting parking space at the Alameda County Fairgrounds.
Another idea contemplated in recent weeks was using the school's tennis courts as a temporary parking lot -- right in the middle of the girls' season. Members of the Amador athletic community said that option would be "disrespectful" to private donors who have contributed large sums of money in recent years to refurbish the tennis courts and help maintain team facilities.
Staff said that Proposition 39 funding deadlines for the project make delaying impossible, and that expediting work would be "very costly in such a short construction window" and shorten the timeline by only a couple of weeks.
The district and city met last week to review parking options and "there are a few items that are still under consideration," according to Superintendent David Haglund.
Dedicated daily use of the courts at the city's Tennis and Community Park could not be guaranteed, so the city offered to help secure other facilities but the district declined because one coach couldn't support players at multiple sites.
"Without a workable plan for the team, this option is no longer feasible and will not be pursued further," Haglund said of the tennis courts parking idea.
PUSD spokesperson Patrick Gannon said that remaining options includ "still looking at the blacktop as a parking option, minus the tennis courts, working with Wheels and our other transportation partners to increase, add, and/or create new bus lines during construction in the first eight weeks of the school year, as well as continuing to collaborate and explore options with the city of Pleasanton."
The solar project's total cost is approximately $650,000, which comes from Prop 39 funding. PUSD expects to save about $1.8 million in energy costs over the course of 25 years, while also adding covered parking for students and staff, and safety-enhancing features like crosswalks for pedestrians.
The district plans to provide an update at the end of May or early in June, Gannon said.