What are the options for building homes on the site?
The environmental analysis of the concept plan includes a range of options for building housing, from 32 homes on the 525 San Antonio site up to 164 units in four places across the site. Note that these are options and that no decision has been made if housing will be included.
What is the history behind this building?
Cubberley opened its doors as a high school in 1956 and closed in 1979, then reopened as a community center operated by the city in 1989, which it has been ever since.
What work is going on right now to get this project moving?
We are working to generate energy and enthusiasm for rebuilding Cubberley. The school district is considering using some of the classroom space during the COVID-19 crisis.
How does the building and space work today?
The buildings are in poor condition, do not have central air conditioning, and do not meet state energy requirements. The site is laid out inefficiently and is confusing to navigate.
What happens if we do nothing?
The physical building will continue to deteriorate. Current maintenance work is done by the City only on a critical basis, such as roof replacements. Programs that would be available in the new building cannot exist, such as swimming pools, playgrounds, pickleball courts, more gym space and activities, a modern performance center, and more.
Who owns Cubberley?
The Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) owns 35.2 acres, which includes most of the old high school, the Greendell and 525 San Antonio locations, and the fields. The City of Palo Alto owns the remaining 7.9 acres of the site, in the northeastern part that currently includes the Friends of the Palo Alto Library drop off center, dance studios, a language school, tennis courts, and the Children’s Pre-School Center.
What is there now and who uses the space?
Dozens of organizations operate there now providing a wide range of activities and learning opportunities.
Is there room for all of them in the new plan?
Yes! The plan accommodates the existing uses and much more.
What does the proposed new facility offer?
The new plan has 70% more green space, an increase of 9.8 acres (which is more than seven football fields!)
New additions include a cafe, pickleball courts, a wood workshop, media center, art classrooms, gallery, skate spot, biking and walking track, culinary kitchen, playground, and two swimming pools
How was the new facility imagined?
462 people came to four meetings over the course of a few months and provided more than 3,000 comments during a co-design process that Concordia managed. This iterative process used table top exercises for the community to inform the plans and choose among options for design.
Is there room for a new school?
Yes, and also an administration building and teacher/staff housing.
What about the fields and the track?
They remain the same size and use and will be scheduled in the same way.
How will we pay for the new buildings?
It’s likely that a bond measure would be appropriate, in the same way that we financed the libraries. Bonds are charges on property taxes that owners pay based on the assessed value of their property, require two-thirds of voters to approve, and are often for 30 years, like a standard mortgage. Note that about ⅓ of the current proposed cost is for construction escalation costs, so that could be reduced if we get started soon.
Can we do this in phases?
What are the environmental impacts of the new buildings?
It’s exciting to imagine a zero net energy building, which the new Cubberley could be, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 98 percent.
What are the traffic impacts of the new buildings?
Using option 3 for housing, the proposed project would generate 1,306 morning peak hour vehicle trips and 1,138 afternoon peak hour vehicle trips on the adjacent roadway network. The plan focuses most vehicle circulation toward the edges of the site with subsurface parking accessed from the primary drive areas. Two pick up/drop off loops are provided. The biggest impact would be at the Middlefield/Montrose intersection. Recommended improvements include left turn lanes at that intersection and changes at the north driveway and 525 San Antonio.
How soon could construction begin?
Before the coronavirus pandemic, it was feasible that a bond to provide funding could go on a November 2022 ballot, with more detailed design work in 2023, and then the first phase of construction could begin as early as 2024. At this point, the timeline is uncertain.
What will the name of the new Cubberley be?
It’s possible that the name will change. When the school district conducted its school renaming process, some information about Ellwood Cubberley’s ideas was concerning. Mr. Cubberley was a professor and dean at the Stanford Graduate School of Education.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect the prospects for a new Cubberley?
Currently, most activities at Cubberley are shut down. While the pandemic may delay the project, it does not change the fact that we need to rebuild Cubberley at some point soon.
How can I help?
Please join Friends of Cubberley to learn more about how we advocate for rebuilding Cubberley Community Center to meet the needs of everyone in our community!