By Jacob Bourne
Two parcels at 797 and 801 Redwood Shores Parkway in Redwood City have a proposed redevelopment plan to primarily add a new classroom building for the Sandpiper Elementary School, which currently has educational facilities at the location. The somewhat complicated aspect of the proposal is that the 7-acre parcel at 797 is City-owned while the 4-acre parcel is owned by the Belmont Redwood Shores School District. Under a Joint Use Agreement between the two entities, the School is able to use facilities at the Sandpiper Community Center and the Sandpiper Park adjacent to the District-owned parcel. As the new 15,220 square foot school building would be located on the City-owned parcel, a General Plan Amendment is required to shift the land use designation for the building site from Park to Public Facility.[contextly_sidebar id=”TVM2lA7P7ALD6MA5lIpCVXpV7AYVl990″]“Because we’re doing a General Plan Amendment and it’s a shared-use property between the City and the School District, it needs City Council approval,” explained Lisa Costa-Sanders, project planner. “The school is on City property so the City is involved. The school also has the use of the Sandpiper Community Center.”
The existing school building has a 566 student capacity. With the addition of a new two-story, pre-fab modular building, ten classrooms and related facilities would be added, increasing the total student capacity to 776. Plans also call for a new kindergarten building on the School District-owned parcel to add an eleventh classroom. Michael Milliken, superintendent of the Belmont Redwood Shores School District anticipates growth for the middle school grades over the next eight or nine years, which would necessitate the extra classrooms to meet the demand for small class sizes. On the first floor of the proposed modular building, two classrooms will be about 150-percent larger — 2,400 to 3,000 square feet — than the typical classroom size and equipped with a folding partition to allow for more flexible uses. Following a bidding process, IBI Architecture and Block Construction were chosen for the development team.
“This is a win-win for the City and community,” said Milliken. “We’re going to continue joint programming with Parks and Recreation and the School. The expanded capacity of the classrooms allows for catering to the Community Center. During the school day there will be classes held, but after hours the spaces can be used by the Community Center, Parks and Recreation and members of the community.”
“The idea is to increase our options both for the School District and for the City — to increase programming on both sides,” he continued. “The flexible space is designed for joint use between the School District, the City and community. The site is City property so that’s why we’re going to such great pains to make sure it’s mutually beneficial.”
As part of the project, the School District will construct a public restroom for Sandpiper Park along with an outdoor seating and gathering area, and community center parking lot expansion, to benefit the greater community. The existing school building will also undergo improvements such as the modernization of science and music facilities and addition of two basketball courts.
Beginning in May 2015, the School District has conducted extensive outreach regarding the proposed plans to the surrounding Redwood Shores community. According to Costa-Sanders, one resident expressed concern about traffic resulting from pick-ups and drops-off on schooldays, but the traffic analysis found no significant impacts resulting from the project.
A Planning Commission hearing regarding the proposal is scheduled for December 6 with a staff report to be issued the week before. Milliken anticipates the project to go before City Council in early 2017, and if approved, to have the pre-fab modular building completed by August 2017.