News

PUSD board wants to proceed with reviewing plans to move district operations off Bernal site

Concept would allow Village High to relocate, portion (or all) of property to be sold for housing

The Pleasanton Unified School District headquarters site on Bernal Avenue, which also houses Village High School and other operations, has long been contemplated for alternative use -- should the district sell and relocate those facilities -- because of the property's prime location on the edge of downtown. (Photo by Jeremy Walsh)

The discussion about setting up the Pleasanton Unified School District property on the edge of downtown for future redevelopment could be moving to the next stage soon.

The Board of Trustees expressed interest in a conceptual plan presented by district staff at last week's meeting to relocate district headquarters to an office building in Hacienda Business Park, a move that could result in a new home for Village High School and a portion of the current site to be sold for future housing.

"I just really also applaud the administration here for looking at all the various options with us and our facility master planning committee for really weighing all that type of information and kind of synthesizing those priorities so that we can get the most value out there,'' Board President Mark Miller said at the April 28 meeting.

The presentation was led by Ahmad Sheikholeslami, assistant superintendent of business services, who spoke about the plans for Village High School and laid out potential options for planning work.

The PUSD property at 4645 and 4665 Bernal Ave. includes the district office, Village High School and the upper Bernal field. The upper field is under a lease to the city and is used by the school during the day and by the community in the afternoon.

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The property also houses the Pleasanton Virtual Academy, the Superintendent's Office, Business Services, Student Support Services, Teaching and Learning, Tri-Valley Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA), Adult Education and Career and Technology Education (CTE) programs, TV30, Horizon Early Education, STEAM Preschool and Pleasanton Partnerships in Education (PPIE).

The district functions on a property with seven buildings spread over 10-11 acres of land, which has also long been considered ripe for redevelopment as residential due to its prominent location in downtown and near the ACE Train station.

Village, the district's alternative high school, is located in both modular and older 1950s buildings. But the placement of the buildings causes inconvenience to students with Horizon is on the north and STEAM is at the lower part of the campus, PUSD officials said.

According to Sheikholeslami, efforts are ongoing over the past months for the potential acquisition of a site for a good portion of the district office functions in the Arroyo Center on West Las Positas Boulevard in Hacienda.

The office building would provide the district with a great deal of flexibility to move most of its functions, Sheikholeslami said. A portion of the property is rented currently, but he suggested it could be a potential opportunity to pursue it at this point.

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"So we'd have to really look at those buildings and make sure that they are in the condition that they're supposed to be and they meet all our demands," he said.

The presentation also included plans to modify Village High School, along with the consideration of the Educational Operations Center for a potential future bond measure.

Board members agreed that Village High School is in dire need of a makeover. Trustee Mary Jo Carreon said students deserve the same opportunities as students at other schools as she tried to understand what the plan entails.

"But when it says relocate Village High School, I want people to understand that that would be temporary wouldn't it though because what would happen if we don't have the bond?" she asked.

The relocation would be a phased approach, according to Sheikholeslami.

"Phased approach is to relocate them down here in a unified campus, bringing in portable classrooms. So the unified campus is out of the older 1950s building and so how we position that and how we do that depends on what paths we (take)," Sheikholeslami said.

Vacated district operations area could potentially be used as classrooms since they are more modernized, but everything will depend on the path taken including funding, he said.

"If we decide if we don't have a bond measure, if the new high school or some level of modernization upgrades are not included in the bond, then we'd have to look within the dollars we have and the dollars we could get from a potential sale than to come up with an alternative plan," Sheikholeslami added.

"But it needs to be a plan that thinks of the Village holistically and not just something that just kind of gets them through the next few years. It has to be a holistic long-term plan," he said.

Student Board Member Saachi Bhayani came with many questions, including about the board's closed-session financial deliberations on Arroyo Center, to which Board Member Joan Laursen said such negotiations were not disclosed to the public because it would give away the board's plans to potential negotiators and put them at a disadvantage when negotiating property deals.

"If we talked about the price that we were trying to buy or sell something, the other party would have an advantage to knowing what our thoughts were," Laursen said.

Bhayani had multiple questions related to finance, "What is the cost to prepare the entire district office?" she asked.

In terms of modernizing and bringing the buildings together, Sheikholeslami said, based on recent building construction costs estimates of $600 per square feet, the district needs 60,000 square feet amounting to approximately $36.2 million.

"Do you know how much the district office would possibly sell for the property value of this place?'' Bhayani responded.

Treading carefully around the question, Sheikholeslami said, it is a highly priced property and it depends on many issues such as final approval, number of units but gave a rough estimate of $4 million to $5 million per acre.

"I'm assuming we're trying to move forward with the purchase of the new district office; I was wondering how it will be funding that new district office if we're not selling this property as of yet?" queried Bhayani.

There are loan opportunities a district could take and that could be through a certificate of participation arrangement or a bridge type of loan between the time we purchased and then sold this property, answered Sheikholeslami.

Bhayani wasn't still convinced about the plan and said, "I'm just confused about the logistics of getting rid of the district property and then keeping the Village still, so we're only gonna sell a portion of the property instead?"

The idea would be to retain a portion of it that would most likely be the one connected to our remaining property at the upper Bernal field, which would provide access to that field from the campus and the remaining portion of it would be for sale, Sheikholeslami said.

Superintendent David Haglund spoke to assure the community that a Facilities Master Plan process was involved here in which each school had a group of stakeholders contributing ideas to the facility.

"The similar process would be used to engage the teachers and students and families that are participating in the Village program; some of that process has already started," he said.

Trustees had more queries to understand the nuances about the proposed plan.

"Has there been other considerations for other schools besides what was presented here as a high school?" Trustee Kelly Mokashi asked, to which Haglund said nothing new was being added but just replacing the existing school to modernize it.

"It's less about doing something new, but enriching and engaging and more about doing the right thing for the current students that we have," Haglund said.

After discussions and deliberations, the board members said they were satisfied with the plan and excited about moving forward to the next step.

Laursen expressed gratitude about moving forward with the plan although it would still need the city's help and many details still needed to be worked out.

"Taking our assets that we have, and converting them into their best use to move this district forward is what we're supposed to be doing. So, I am really thrilled," she said.

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PUSD board wants to proceed with reviewing plans to move district operations off Bernal site

Concept would allow Village High to relocate, portion (or all) of property to be sold for housing

by Shiri Marwaha / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, May 4, 2022, 5:17 pm

The discussion about setting up the Pleasanton Unified School District property on the edge of downtown for future redevelopment could be moving to the next stage soon.

The Board of Trustees expressed interest in a conceptual plan presented by district staff at last week's meeting to relocate district headquarters to an office building in Hacienda Business Park, a move that could result in a new home for Village High School and a portion of the current site to be sold for future housing.

"I just really also applaud the administration here for looking at all the various options with us and our facility master planning committee for really weighing all that type of information and kind of synthesizing those priorities so that we can get the most value out there,'' Board President Mark Miller said at the April 28 meeting.

The presentation was led by Ahmad Sheikholeslami, assistant superintendent of business services, who spoke about the plans for Village High School and laid out potential options for planning work.

The PUSD property at 4645 and 4665 Bernal Ave. includes the district office, Village High School and the upper Bernal field. The upper field is under a lease to the city and is used by the school during the day and by the community in the afternoon.

The property also houses the Pleasanton Virtual Academy, the Superintendent's Office, Business Services, Student Support Services, Teaching and Learning, Tri-Valley Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA), Adult Education and Career and Technology Education (CTE) programs, TV30, Horizon Early Education, STEAM Preschool and Pleasanton Partnerships in Education (PPIE).

The district functions on a property with seven buildings spread over 10-11 acres of land, which has also long been considered ripe for redevelopment as residential due to its prominent location in downtown and near the ACE Train station.

Village, the district's alternative high school, is located in both modular and older 1950s buildings. But the placement of the buildings causes inconvenience to students with Horizon is on the north and STEAM is at the lower part of the campus, PUSD officials said.

According to Sheikholeslami, efforts are ongoing over the past months for the potential acquisition of a site for a good portion of the district office functions in the Arroyo Center on West Las Positas Boulevard in Hacienda.

The office building would provide the district with a great deal of flexibility to move most of its functions, Sheikholeslami said. A portion of the property is rented currently, but he suggested it could be a potential opportunity to pursue it at this point.

"So we'd have to really look at those buildings and make sure that they are in the condition that they're supposed to be and they meet all our demands," he said.

The presentation also included plans to modify Village High School, along with the consideration of the Educational Operations Center for a potential future bond measure.

Board members agreed that Village High School is in dire need of a makeover. Trustee Mary Jo Carreon said students deserve the same opportunities as students at other schools as she tried to understand what the plan entails.

"But when it says relocate Village High School, I want people to understand that that would be temporary wouldn't it though because what would happen if we don't have the bond?" she asked.

The relocation would be a phased approach, according to Sheikholeslami.

"Phased approach is to relocate them down here in a unified campus, bringing in portable classrooms. So the unified campus is out of the older 1950s building and so how we position that and how we do that depends on what paths we (take)," Sheikholeslami said.

Vacated district operations area could potentially be used as classrooms since they are more modernized, but everything will depend on the path taken including funding, he said.

"If we decide if we don't have a bond measure, if the new high school or some level of modernization upgrades are not included in the bond, then we'd have to look within the dollars we have and the dollars we could get from a potential sale than to come up with an alternative plan," Sheikholeslami added.

"But it needs to be a plan that thinks of the Village holistically and not just something that just kind of gets them through the next few years. It has to be a holistic long-term plan," he said.

Student Board Member Saachi Bhayani came with many questions, including about the board's closed-session financial deliberations on Arroyo Center, to which Board Member Joan Laursen said such negotiations were not disclosed to the public because it would give away the board's plans to potential negotiators and put them at a disadvantage when negotiating property deals.

"If we talked about the price that we were trying to buy or sell something, the other party would have an advantage to knowing what our thoughts were," Laursen said.

Bhayani had multiple questions related to finance, "What is the cost to prepare the entire district office?" she asked.

In terms of modernizing and bringing the buildings together, Sheikholeslami said, based on recent building construction costs estimates of $600 per square feet, the district needs 60,000 square feet amounting to approximately $36.2 million.

"Do you know how much the district office would possibly sell for the property value of this place?'' Bhayani responded.

Treading carefully around the question, Sheikholeslami said, it is a highly priced property and it depends on many issues such as final approval, number of units but gave a rough estimate of $4 million to $5 million per acre.

"I'm assuming we're trying to move forward with the purchase of the new district office; I was wondering how it will be funding that new district office if we're not selling this property as of yet?" queried Bhayani.

There are loan opportunities a district could take and that could be through a certificate of participation arrangement or a bridge type of loan between the time we purchased and then sold this property, answered Sheikholeslami.

Bhayani wasn't still convinced about the plan and said, "I'm just confused about the logistics of getting rid of the district property and then keeping the Village still, so we're only gonna sell a portion of the property instead?"

The idea would be to retain a portion of it that would most likely be the one connected to our remaining property at the upper Bernal field, which would provide access to that field from the campus and the remaining portion of it would be for sale, Sheikholeslami said.

Superintendent David Haglund spoke to assure the community that a Facilities Master Plan process was involved here in which each school had a group of stakeholders contributing ideas to the facility.

"The similar process would be used to engage the teachers and students and families that are participating in the Village program; some of that process has already started," he said.

Trustees had more queries to understand the nuances about the proposed plan.

"Has there been other considerations for other schools besides what was presented here as a high school?" Trustee Kelly Mokashi asked, to which Haglund said nothing new was being added but just replacing the existing school to modernize it.

"It's less about doing something new, but enriching and engaging and more about doing the right thing for the current students that we have," Haglund said.

After discussions and deliberations, the board members said they were satisfied with the plan and excited about moving forward to the next step.

Laursen expressed gratitude about moving forward with the plan although it would still need the city's help and many details still needed to be worked out.

"Taking our assets that we have, and converting them into their best use to move this district forward is what we're supposed to be doing. So, I am really thrilled," she said.

Comments

Pleasant Pleasanton
Registered user
Downtown
on May 6, 2022 at 12:47 pm
Pleasant Pleasanton , Downtown
Registered user
on May 6, 2022 at 12:47 pm

This type of housing project proposal on the school district property will be a nightmare to those who live in the downtown area. It will add to the horrible traffic burden which already exists on 1st street and surrounding residential streets (including cut through speeding traffic), and also have the potential of overflow parking in the neighborhoods adjacent to this project.

The downtown infrastructure can’t support this type of project. What happened to the idea of adding housing near Bart which is not only close to transit but freeway access?


My opinion
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2022 at 6:17 pm
My opinion, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on May 12, 2022 at 6:17 pm

If they are selling the land that Village HS is on will they be closing the school permanently? That alone could get my vote for this project. Those kids do so much damage to homes and yards in the area it would be a blessing to have the school closed.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on May 13, 2022 at 6:19 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on May 13, 2022 at 6:19 am

No, My opinion, Village would also move to the business park.


SHale99
Registered user
Village High School
on May 14, 2022 at 10:18 am
SHale99, Village High School
Registered user
on May 14, 2022 at 10:18 am

my opinion a portion of the DO land will be sold and those proceeds will rebuilt a new Village HS on the remaining property. Only option that doesn't require voter approval.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on May 14, 2022 at 11:24 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on May 14, 2022 at 11:24 am

Sorry about the error. This makes less sense.


SHale99
Registered user
Village High School
on May 15, 2022 at 10:32 am
SHale99, Village High School
Registered user
on May 15, 2022 at 10:32 am

having a HS in a business park (office building) makes no sense as well. DOA


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on May 15, 2022 at 11:21 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on May 15, 2022 at 11:21 am

I’m not certain it makes no sense, but selling only part of the DO and then moving students to portables or some other configuration doesn’t make sense either. What kind of housing could be built next to this school?

Village was/is a caring environment with great teachers. The students deserve something better, something to be proud of, no matter how they ended up there. Being in better surroundings in the business park is better than portables. We shouldn’t have any students in portables.


Get the Facts
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 15, 2022 at 10:13 pm
Get the Facts, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on May 15, 2022 at 10:13 pm

To My Opinion:

Really? You maybe should get to know what really happens at Village. These are kids who need extra help, and get it from a very caring staff. Many that graduate from Village would not be able to graduate from Amador or Foothill, yet they walk away with a diploma. "It would be a blessing if the school closed"? Shame on you. Move to another area if you think these kids are so destructive. And since it appears that you have no idea if these are Village students causing "so much damage", maybe call the cops when damage is happening?

I am a teacher at another school and over the years numerous students of mine have later ended up at Village getting the help they need. This school is an absolute asset to this district and city. I am disappointed in your narrow viewpoint and assumption of vandalism.


SHale99
Registered user
Village High School
on May 17, 2022 at 3:57 pm
SHale99, Village High School
Registered user
on May 17, 2022 at 3:57 pm

> Being in better surroundings in the business park is better than portables. We shouldn’t >have any students in portables.

Yeah, no. the logistics alone would kill that idea dead. Think about PE? 'Ok kids go run around the cars in the parking lot.

Um, you may have misunderstood the 'portables' idea it would only be temporary while a 'new' Village HS is built on the remaining property not sold.

btw, take a look at a bunch of schools; most edge right up to properties; it's not unheard of.

because, really if Village stays the ONLY way to fix it is to knock it down and start over.


SHale99
Registered user
Village High School
on May 17, 2022 at 4:00 pm
SHale99, Village High School
Registered user
on May 17, 2022 at 4:00 pm

>> Those kids do so much damage to homes and yards in the area it would be a blessing to >>have the school closed.

Say what? Which houses have been damaged. the only one even close are on Abbie. And maybe a dozen or so kids exit (or enter) the school that way.

Keep in mind every school district has a continuation HS; close Village PUSD must open another one.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on May 17, 2022 at 7:51 pm
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on May 17, 2022 at 7:51 pm

There is a new possible attempt at a bond and what could be included are $$$ to, maybe, add a small high school of 400ish students to be housed with Village. I’m not in favor of a small high school being built before an elementary school.


Get the Facts
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 18, 2022 at 1:41 pm
Get the Facts, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on May 18, 2022 at 1:41 pm

Kathleen, elementary numbers are down at most schools in the district. This could be caused by students at virtual schools, the extremely high price of housing, I'm not sure. But unless I have my facts wrong, we have declining enrollment in K-5, which makes me think there is no need for another elementary school.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on May 18, 2022 at 6:50 pm
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on May 18, 2022 at 6:50 pm

There is a $35mm bet riding on that question—a question I don’t believe has been answered publicly—where are those 700 students? There could be inter district transfers, transfers to private schools, etc. It’s not difficult to know, and I’m guessing they do know. What if they come back? It isn’t like the community is shrinking. Donlon and Lydiksen are far too large, and larger than policy states (700). And what about inter district transfers into our district. If you are accepted in kindergarten, you have a seat through fifth grade. So, let’s say that student is at Lydiksen and a new family moves in across from the school with a kindergartner—school/class is full and you are now moved to another school, without transportation. All things I have said before. Point being, things will change and we will grow and we won’t be prepared. A small high school is not what we need.


Pleasanton Parent
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on May 18, 2022 at 9:10 pm
Pleasanton Parent, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on May 18, 2022 at 9:10 pm

Houses aren’t selling to retirees. Every house turning has younger families moving in. So if the data on enrollment is real then the district has a far greater problem on trust and quality of education.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on May 18, 2022 at 9:34 pm
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on May 18, 2022 at 9:34 pm

Exactly. And certainly an argument for doing things better than a small high school to draw those students back.


Get the Facts
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 19, 2022 at 11:52 am
Get the Facts, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on May 19, 2022 at 11:52 am

I am not a proponent of another elementary school. The costs alone for staff - before you even hire one teacher - probably exceeds 500k. If numbers go up in the next few years, then yes, consider that. Until then, change the boundaries to balance things out, getting more kids away from Donlon, Fairlands, and Valley View (the three schools that are currently the largest) and into Alisal, Hearst, and Vintage Hills (the three smallest schools).


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on May 19, 2022 at 12:02 pm
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on May 19, 2022 at 12:02 pm

Easier said, unless there is grandfathering—allowing students to stay until they finish; starting enrollment at new school with incoming TK each year.


Willy
Registered user
Old Towne
on Jul 26, 2022 at 5:21 pm
Willy, Old Towne
Registered user
on Jul 26, 2022 at 5:21 pm

Before this City discusses any further building in any form, let's discuss the water problems we are facing!


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