No. 4 School to Be in Strip Mall?

Bond measure must wait for impact studies, San Mateo-Foster City board decides.

The San Mateo-Foster City School District announced the potential new location for a fourth Foster City elementary school: a shopping center.

The district has its eye on a building inside Charter Square at 1050-1064 Shell Blvd., which would give the school restaurants, dry cleaners, a hair salon, insurance agency, mini-mart, bank and martial arts studio as immediate neighbors.

The move is contingent upon the outcome of financial and environmental impact tests required by the California Environmental Quality Act.

Prior to last week's meeting, the district had narrowed down the possibilities to four, including properties at 1164 Triton Dr., 551 Foster City Blvd. and 400 Mariners Island Blvd. in San Mateo.

Growing enrollment has driven the need to find a fourth site.

By the 2013-2014 school year, about 545 new students are expected to attend city schools, which represents 16 percent growth since the 2005-2006 school year, according to a district report.

Money from the $175 million Measure L bond fund passed in 2008 would be used to purchase the property, but could not be used to cover the cost of construction.

The board had already opted to float a $25 million bond measure to district voters in Foster City in November that would be used to build the new school.

But last month the board pulled the bond measure from the ballot. The plan now is to settle on a site and move forward with the impact studies before going to voters.

The next step -- and a significant one -- will be finding an architect.

Design is not so much an issue as layout, said board president Mark Hudak.

Hudak also said members of the community will have an opportunity to provide input on the potential location for the site during the district's property evaluation process.

DanC September 13, 2011 at 08:03 PM
What's wrong with Foster City? First, they kill all the squirrels in the city because they "could" be (but aren't now) a problem. Now they want to tear down existing businesses to build a school. What about all that space around City Hall?
Troy September 14, 2011 at 06:07 PM
I didn't know about the squirrels. That's upsetting. My daughter and I like to watch them while walking to school and we have a family of them living in the tree outside our front door. As far as Charter Square I think existing businesses should be spared. There has always been a lot of empty spaces there however. There are also a few other lots available to build an elementary school and the Mayor's idea to build "up" on existing schools has always appealed to me. We are going to have to do that anyway as time goes on...


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