Stanford’s future in Redwood City is now fully under way.

The sun was shining and smiles abounded in Redwood City as a group of more than 130 attendees, including university leaders, Redwood City elected officials and community representatives gathered Wednesday to celebrate groundbreaking for the university’s first major expansion from the original campus in more than 125 years.

Marc Tessier-Lavigne at a podium

Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne speaking at the ceremonial groundbreaking for Stanford Redwood City. (Image credit: John Todd)

With the old buildings now gone and site preparation work moving forward briskly, the mood at the groundbreaking ceremony was filled with anticipation about the opportunities that Stanford Redwood City will bring to university employees and the local community.

“Today marks an exciting moment of new possibility for both Stanford and Redwood City – the official start of our shared future,” said President Marc Tessier-Lavigne. “One of the great things about Stanford expanding beyond our historic walls and into a new community is the opportunity it provides to advance both communities.”

Tessier-Lavigne particularly acknowledged Stanford staff members who ultimately will move to the new campus. “You demonstrate exemplary devotion to the university, to our mission, and to the success of every member of our community,” he said. “We will ensure that Stanford’s unique character is seeded into every part of the Stanford Redwood City plans, so that the new campus reflects Stanford for all of you.”

Located on the 35-acre site of the former Mid-Point Technology Park across from the Stanford Medicine Outpatient Center off Highway 101, the new campus will allow the university to continue concentrating teaching and research activities at Stanford while providing a vibrant new workplace for many university operations currently located both on and off campus. The initial four office buildings will be the workplace for approximately 2,700 staff employees whose jobs are important to supporting the university’s mission.

“We are excited to be making the move and partnering with Redwood City,” said Board of Trustees Chair Steven A. Denning. “We admire and respect the pervasive sense of community found here and the strong municipal leadership that has embraced collaborating with Stanford.

“We look forward to nurturing and developing the relationship between Stanford and Redwood City. We expect the fabric and bond of our partnership between the university and this community to endure and strengthen, for decades to come.”

Targeted to open in 2019, the new campus will feature design elements infused with the Stanford ethos to create a strong sense of place. A landscaped greenway will run through the campus center, with additional amenities to include indoor and outdoor dining areas and plazas, a child care center, fitness center, public park, parking garage and a sustainable central energy facility.

“Our work on the design of the Stanford Redwood City campus has focused on creating a strong sense of place, shaping a campus that evokes a sense of pride, a sense of higher purpose, crafting an environment that really helps us build connections – not only to the campus itself, but also connections to the local community,” said University Architect David Lenox.

Building stronger connections with the Redwood City community is a key aspect of the new campus. Community members will benefit from 2.4 acres of open space, street enhancements to improve local traffic flow, sidewalk upgrades to enhance walkability, bicycle lane improvements, and storm water improvements.

“While I truly believe we still have a wonderful future of partnerships with Stanford here in Redwood City, what is amazing is the incredible ripple effects that Stanford has already had on our city,” said Redwood City Mayor John Seybert. “As I reflect on the list, it’s like you have broken ground, built the campus and have already been here for years.”

Employees relocating to the Redwood City campus represent various schools and business units, including the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching & Learning (VPTL), School of Medicine, University Libraries, Business Affairs & CFO, University Human Resources (UHR), Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE), Office of Development (OOD), and Land, Buildings & Real Estate (LBRE).

“It’s exciting to establish an entirely new workplace, with the opportunity to create new ways of working together and new traditions, while also bringing the best of Stanford to this new location,” said Vice President for Human Resources Elizabeth Zacharias. “With 2,700 employees initially occupying Stanford Redwood City, it will be exciting to share our culture of this campus with our original campus, as well.”

The new campus is also being designed with attention toward providing employee transit options. The transportation plan for Stanford Redwood City employees includes free Caltrain Go passes and SamTrans Way2Go passes; free Marguerite shuttle service to and from the Redwood City Caltrain station; preferred parking for carpools and vanpools; on-site Zipcars; bicycle commuter facilities; pre-tax transit purchase programs; a Guaranteed Ride Home program for those who do not drive alone to work; and other offerings. Additional options are being explored to create a comprehensive transportation plan for the new campus.

More information about Stanford Redwood City can be found on the project website. For those who missed the live webcast of the official groundbreaking, a video recording of the event has been posted there, as well.