Amador Valley High solar power structure building to start Monday

Officials develop plan for traffic circulation, still weighing ideas for replacement parking

Rendering of the completed solar panel structure and parking lot re-orientation project at Amador Valley High School. More than 400 student parking spaces will be unavailable for the first 8 weeks of the 2019-20 school year, while construction is still underway. (Courtesy illustration)

Pleasanton school district and city officials have worked out part of their temporary plan for when Amador Valley High School students return in August to a campus without any available parking.

Now that classes have let out for the summer, the parking lot facing Santa Rita Road is set to begin receiving an “eco-friendly upgrade," when workers start construction on a new solar panel structure plus add new crosswalks and reorient the parking configuration. Work is expected to continue into the new school year until early October, although PUSD said they will “continue to look for ways to expedite this timeline.”

During that time, more than 400 student parking spaces will be unavailable and only about 50 reserved for staff and faculty -- a prospect that doesn’t thrill Amador families or neighbors around the school worried about how the absence of parking will affect them.

To help minimize traffic jams on Santa Rita during student drop-off and pick-up, the city and PUSD have identified seven loading zones both near and adjacent to the school. The drop-off and pick-up loop bordering the student parking lot will remain open during construction, and loading zones will be established on Del Valle Parkway, Black Avenue and on Santa Rita next to the aquatic center park.

Officials are still working to analyze solutions for the student and staff parking shortfall during construction once school starts again for the fall semester in August.

“While we understand that this is a significant temporary challenge, and presents a short-term inconvenience, it also provides for a 25-plus year benefit in addition to priceless learning opportunities for our students,” the district said on its website. “We are confident that in working together with our school and broader community, our students will continue to be able to get to school safely while being kind and conscientious of our community neighbors during this time.”

A number of suggestions for temporary parking were previously floated such as using the junior varsity softball fields and tennis courts on campus, but those were rejected after backlash from the Amador athletic community. Renting parking space at the Alameda County Fairgrounds has also been dismissed because of issues with cost and liability.

District staff also ruled out putting the project on hold until next year due to Proposition 39 funding deadlines. The solar project's total cost is about $650,000, which comes from Prop 39 funding. PUSD anticipates saving about $1.8 million in energy costs over the course of 25 years, while also offering coverage for students’ and staff’s vehicles, reducing the district’s carbon footprint and providing long-term renewable energy.

“We are working with Wheels and other local transportation partners in collaboration with the city and will have information on additional transportation options soon,” PUSD spokesperson Patrick Gannon told the Weekly about the district’s continued parking mitigation efforts.

PUSD said they will continue sharing transportation and parking updates with the public throughout the summer and into the 2019-20 school year.

For more information about the project, including a list of drop off and pick up zones and a campus circulation map, visit the district’s Amador Solar Parking Structure Project page under the Facilities and Construction section of the website.

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14 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2019 at 10:51 pm

Just an observation... we have had parades/functions that use the Amador Valley High School parking lot to stage these events.Does the solar complex project height provide clearance for school buses? With the twenty or so landscaped areas within the project, who maintains "Priceless learning opportunities for our students" could the Pleasanton Weekly reporting expand on that? Anyhow...

11 people like this
Posted by Underway?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2019 at 3:48 pm

Happened to drive by the school on the way to the post office and back today and there are absolutely no construction workers in the parking lot whatsoever.

In fact, there is nothing going on at all in the parking lot.

Did the Pleasanton Weekly confirm that this project is really underway?

2 people like this
Posted by pope john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2019 at 6:54 pm

Contractor is tied up on another project.
He will get to this project when there is time for him to do so!

7 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 3, 2019 at 7:46 pm

Every day of construction lost means more days of our poor kids finding an alternate means of getting to school, oh what will they do, way too soon to be entering and having to deal with the real world !!

1 person likes this
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2019 at 6:43 am

Just park a little far and walk.
Walking is good. Try it. You will find you will want to do more and more of it.

8 people like this
Posted by Food for Thought
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 4, 2019 at 1:38 pm

Dear Resident and Map,

A few things. Obviously you do not have high schoolers. If you did you might start to understand the pressure these young people are under (don't forget our schools are high achieving and this keeps your home values up).

I wonder how you would feel if you were told today that tomorrow your place of employment will no longer provide you with a parking space and you must find an alternate means to get to work.

Students, teachers and visitors looking for a parking space may impact you live near Amador? I didn't think so. If you drive around the school around 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., this also may impact you. Wait, you don't take the bus, ride your bike or skateboard during these hours.

These young adults at Amador are resilient, intelligent, visionaries who would not make such a poorly thought out decision that is going to have "significant impact" on the community at large.

Remember, many students at Amador cannot drive themselves: either too young or live too far away, for example. There are hundreds of students who are driven to school by their parents because, hey, everyone can't carry a band instrument on a bike while riding and managing a backpack like you two.

Just some food for thought. The solar panels are going in - it's a done deal. By the way, the Amador students have been out of school two days now and ZERO construction has occurred with installation to be completed in October. My bet is on construction running well past October (October 2020?) and including cost overruns.

6 people like this
Posted by Two months to find parking isn't so bad
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jun 4, 2019 at 6:56 pm

Two months to find parking isn't so bad is a registered user.

@Food for Thought -

My family is in the Amador parking pickle and most of your comment is spot-on. However, you overstate the comparison with an employer telling a worker that "tomorrow" they can't park. We have had about 3 months notice, right? The alternatives are not as good, but they are out there. Also, the drop-off circle will still be open on Santa Rita. People will find ways to make this work.

But it's dismaying to learn that nothing is happening yet. And given the poor planning throughout, we're not holding our breath that the district will bird-dog this project to a timely completion.

5 people like this
Posted by Really
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 6, 2019 at 10:48 am

Thursday already and no work in sight. Now we have just pushed this out another week into the school year . So sad!2jwAT

5 people like this
Posted by Jtjh
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jun 6, 2019 at 11:05 am

I'm wondering whether the officials who awarded the contract had the foresight to include in it a penalty clause for late completion.

7 people like this
Posted by Wanna bet?
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Jun 6, 2019 at 12:55 pm

Let's have some fun and see who can predict just how late the project will run! I'm guessing that it won't begin next week either, so my bet is it'll get pushed back to Thanksgiving.

4 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 7, 2019 at 7:31 pm

Food For Thought- Sorry to disappoint you but I had 2 kids that went to Amador and now I have 2 grandkids attending so I’m well aware of what’s going on at this school, the cluster at pick up and drop off, the rude entitled parents setting a great example for their own kids, it’s a great school and the biggest percentage of the students are doing just fine, if they can’t figure out how to get to school when thrown a few curve balls these kids are in for a rude awakening when they are out on their own!
As for every employer giving their employees a guaranteed parking spot what world have you been living in??

Like this comment
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 7, 2019 at 7:53 pm

I predict the project is dead in the water!b

Like this comment
Posted by Pete
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2019 at 9:10 pm

Perhaps, with the Alameda County Fair parade coming to town this weekend, the AVHS parking lot is required. We can't stop the small town feel. The last cattle drive, with Mayor Thorne as Gil Favor, Vice=Mayor Karla Brown as Rowdy Yates, Council member Kathy Narum as Wishbone, Council member Jerry Pentin as the bartender and Council member Julie Testa as the Marshall.
Monday is a new the solar project begins. MAYBE...

Like this comment
Posted by Pete
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2019 at 10:07 pm

Ouch, next week is cattle drive. Oh well...

7 people like this
Posted by Frankie
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Jun 8, 2019 at 2:08 pm

What a big deal the community (mostly parents) are making out of this. Probably because it is them that will be inconvenienced or because they have to listen to their kids whine about not being able to drive their new cars into the lot. This is a minor “first world” inconvenience in comparison to many other things in life. Carpool, drop off, walking, etc....what a new concept for a temporary period of time. In the long run, we will have solar power and shaded parking for students and staff. In short, tell your kids it’s only a short time, the world doesn’t cater to them, and that is the way life is. Heaven forbid the kids ever get a job in a big City in the future.

Like this comment
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 8, 2019 at 3:13 pm

I had conversations with two PUSD board members in the last twenty-four hours. They both assured me that the project started on Friday or earlier, with marking off areas of demolition and asphalt would be coming off today.

5 people like this
Posted by Patriot
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 12, 2019 at 6:53 pm

Bet solar gets there way before Costco! Any word on this? The Times said the review would be complete in June. Anything new?

8 people like this
Posted by Rap star
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Jun 21, 2019 at 6:44 pm

Three weeks in and they haven’t even begun. Kudos to the district for their consistency in communication and competence.

5 people like this
Posted by cosmic-charlie
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 21, 2019 at 8:52 pm

I thought there was a great urgency getting this project started so the completion would not run too deep into the next school semester. So why has this project not put a shovel in the ground for 3 weeks following the school closing. Does not seem to be much urgency...

2 people like this
Posted by Really
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 26, 2019 at 8:00 am

Well, we are now into Week 4 and no work in sight. Next week is a holiday week so you can bet no work again. How was the contract for this work written? They might as well take the fence down and try again next summer. At this rate, that parking lot will be useless until Christmas.

1 person likes this
Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Jun 26, 2019 at 8:37 am

James Michael is a registered user.

Lowest bidder...what a surprise.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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