After months of community debate, Pleasanton Unified School District Superintendent David Haglund has announced that he would ask the City Council to remove the Donlon Elementary School field from Pleasanton's Housing Element site inventory list.
The effort to keep the green space at Donlon, specifically the portion of the school land along Denker Drive and Payne Road, open for park use has been underway since the district first requested that the property be included in the city's Housing Element update process last October.
"Since then, the district has engaged with various community members and received input from the school community," Haglund said during Thursday's school board meeting. "Following this community engagement and after careful consideration of our long term objectives, I will be requesting that the city remove the Donlon field from consideration."
Parents like Colleen Hake, who spoke during public comments before Haglund gave his announcement voicing her concerns over losing the field, have been advocating for saving the field this year.
"If you drive around Pleasanton and you look at the green field that each of the PUSD schools, you will see that it is equitable for Donlon students to have the grass to play on," Hake said during public comment.
Following the meeting, Hake told the Weekly she was grateful that the district listened to the community and that her sons went to sleep happy knowing they helped preserve the field.
"It is incredibly important for the students and families who live around Donlon Elementary to have the field saved for the students and the community," Hake said.
Haglund also said Thursday that the district plans to continue discussions with the city to build consensus around a plan for the field that would benefit both the school and the neighborhood.
He said that might include a joint-use agreement relating to the Donlon field, which would provide shared field space that serves students and families in the neighborhood.
"If you ask the community, they are celebrating the idea of a joint-use agreement between PUSD and the city to bring Donlon Field to its fullest potential and protect Donlon Elementary from overcrowding in the future," Hake told the Weekly.
The district request to include the 8.3-acre Donlon field was among nearly two-dozen properties across Pleasanton included on the short list for environmental review in the city's Regional Housing Needs Allocation sites inventory list for potential residential development.
The City Council voted to include the Donlon property in the environmental review process in February, despite over 90 families and Pleasanton residents urging the council to take the field off the list, according to a petition to save the field.
The ultimate inventory list is scheduled to be approved as part of the city's Housing Element update finalization process during the City Council meeting on Tuesday.
Pleasanton resident Audrey Purnell said she has been supporting the Donlon field ever since her kids attended kindergarten there. She said it was great to see parents taking charge and speaking out.
"Their energy, organization and hard work has paid off," Purnell said on Friday. "I am thrilled with last night's decision to save the field for the students and to take care of it."