Stanford, City of Palo Alto announce proposal to provide sites for new middle school, city community center
President John Hennessy and Palo Alto Mayor Liz Kniss today announced a proposal that could permit the city's Terman School to be reopened as a middle school while providing a location for a new Palo Alto Community Center.
At a press conference at Palo Alto City Hall, Hennessy said that Stanford would lease six acres of prime university land at the intersection of El Camino Real and Page Mill Road to the city for $1 a year for 51 years as a site for a city community center.
"We hope and believe that this proposal will enable the city, the Jewish Community Center, and the School District to swiftly resolve issues related to the location of a middle school and the continued provision of critical community services," Hennessy said in prepared remarks.
The city and the university have been working with the school district and the Jewish Community Center for nearly a year to find a location for a new middle school while ensuring the continued provision of first class services to the community. Supporters of the JCC feared that it might be displaced by the new school and that another location might not be available in Palo Alto.
In his remarks, Hennessy emphasized the university's willingness to take bold steps to help to resolve the issues. "We have committed significant university assets to make this proposal, but we are pleased to be able to do it, he said. " We are, after all, active and permanent neighbors and members of a larger community. We earnestly seek an improvement in our community relations and a better working relationship with our neighbors. Above all, we want to demonstrate what Stanford and its neighbors can achieve by working together in the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect. I hope that this solution, together with the recent solution of the first hole of the golf course, marks the beginning of a new era of more effective cooperation and collaboration.
"This is an exciting proposal that could potentially lead to a favorable solution for all parties," said Mayor Kniss. "While we need to perform due diligence on all the ramifications, I look forward to taking this exciting proposal quickly to the city Council and the public."
In exchange for the lease, Stanford would be entitled over the next 25 years to develop sites in the Stanford Research Park equivalent to the larger of 100,000 square feet or the amount of development the city puts on the site at El Camino and Page Mill, which is known as the Mayfield site.
Details of the proposal were spelled out in an October 5 letter to Kniss from Larry Horton, Stanford's director of government and community relations. The letter notes that Stanford is willing to offer the Mayfield site now, even though the university may not exercise its transferred development rights in the Research Park for many years.
The university's offer is contingent upon approval by Santa Clara County of a modified General Use Permit that is acceptable to Stanford, and final resolution of any litigation that might arise in connection with the General Use Permit and the Community Plan, Horton wrote.
Mayor Kniss remarked, "This is a good example of the type of collaboration that a good city-university relationship fosters. Again, we need to consider all the ramifications of this proposal, but we are grateful to Stanford for coming forward with this offer and look forward to a resolution favorable to all parties."