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Future Dublin High School Update

June 2018

FUTURE DUBLIN HIGH SCHOOL UPDATE

At the regular Board meeting of June 12, 2018, the District took action to identify the “Promenade” site as the location of the Dublin Unified School District’s (DUSD) new high school.  The Promenade site is located on 23.4 acres south of Central Parkway, East of Chancery Lane, and north of Dublin Boulevard.

During the Board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Leslie Boozer reviewed the history of DUSD’s school site selection process, which commenced in the Fall of 2015 and has been ongoing since that time.  Dr. Boozer shared the recommendations of the Community Review Committee (CRC), which after extensive work, recommended five potential sites for the new high school in February of 2018.  District staff, including Dr. Boozer, Assistant Superintendent, Business Services, Joe Sorrera, and Chief Facilities Operations Officer, Bert Contreras, reviewed staff and third-party analysis of the five potential high school locations recommended by the CRC.  Due to various constraints on three of those sites, staff narrowed the focus to two possible locations.  Architect Laura Knauss, Education Practice Lead, at Lionakis, along with District staff, then further analyzed the remaining two options of converting Fallon Middle School into a potential high school and relocating the middle school and developing the Promenade site as a high school.  Dr. Boozer’s presentation materials can be found here.

As part of their discussion at the Board meeting, District staff and Ms. Knauss reviewed the timeline relating to the future high school selection process, discussed each of the properties included in the CRC’s February report, and shared conceptual outlines of how high school facilities could be located on each of the two sites as prepared by the architect. The materials from this portion of the presentation to the public and Board can be found here.

As a result of analysis done by DUSD and Lionakis, a recommendation was made to the Board of Trustees that the Promenade site be selected as the future high school site. Following the recommendation and public comment, the Board of Trustees approved the recommendation.

PROMENADE SITE Q&A:

What does the Promenade site decision mean?

After review of all options, research, and data, the District is focused on acquiring the Promenade site for use as a future high school. The decision to focus on the Promenade site is a major milestone in the development of a new high school in Dublin.

Is Promenade now the future high school site in Dublin?

The Board has agreed to move forward with the attempt to secure Promenade with the specific intent that it be used as the future high school site. The site is owned by another party, with whom the District is now negotiating.

What are the next steps in moving forward with the Promenade recommendation?

With the Board’s approval of focusing on Promenade as the future high school site, the District will continue to move forward with efforts to acquire the property. Selection of a specific site also makes it easier to engage with an architect to start the design process, which can be run in parallel with site negotiations, with a goal of reducing the overall timeline of the project.

What will be the process for design of the high school?

More so than for other types of educational facilities, a high school’s design is heavily dependent on the development of a plan for the programs that will be housed at the high school. This programming process will involve extensive community input and public Board discussion. The District will go through a Request for Qualifications (“RFQ”) process to select the architect who will guide this process and who will ultimately design the facilities.  There will also be opportunities for Board review before any proposed design for the school is ultimately adopted.  

Didn’t you already announce you were planning to buy the Promenade site months ago?

On February 14, 2018, the Dublin Unified School District provided notice to the City of Dublin that it was investigating the acquisition of the Promenade site. The site was being analyzed for utilization as a future school location. At the time, the District had not determined if Promenade was better suited as a future high school site, as a replacement middle school site, or possibly for other school use. Converting Fallon to a high school was one of the options presented by the CRC, which would have then required the District to replace Fallon with a new middle school in eastern Dublin. The District has been engaged in a due diligence investigation of the Promenade site since that time. 

Did the District attempt to purchase the site in April 2018?

In April 2018, the Board approved the reinstatement of an amendment to the Right of Entry Agreement for property inspection and testing purposes at the Promenade site. The Board also approved contracts with Placeworks for a CEQA review, and with Terraphase Engineering for a limited phase II environmental investigation. Investigation of the property is required before the District can purchase the site.

The Promenade site is smaller than Dublin High School, how can you create a comprehensive school in that location?

As growth continues around the Bay Area, and available land becomes more scarce, school districts are increasingly designing school facilities in a very different way than they had in previous decades. School districts, including neighboring districts, are increasingly building multi-story facilities, having fewer total buildings on campus, and taking other measures to maximize increasingly scarce space. The Promenade site is geared towards a more urbanized setting, and the high school design will be different from the more open concept found at Dublin High. A future high school on the Promenade site will be a unique facility among DUSD sites and appropriately planned and designed to meet future educational needs and to blend with the denser surrounding environment. High-achieving high schools come in all sizes and configurations. The District will build a state of the art campus to house a comprehensive program and rigorous portfolio of course offerings for students. Students at the future high school campus will be afforded a broad range of extra-curricular activities including athletics, performing arts, clubs and more. Graduation requirements will be the same as they are at Dublin High School. The programming process described above will help ensure that the program and resulting facilities planned for the site will best meet the needs of DUSD and its community. The District is confident the Promenade property will be designed to meet the standards of outstanding education today and into the future.

How many students will the Promenade site be able to accommodate?

The initial phase of the future high school will accommodate a minimum of 1,000 students. The school will be designed so that it can later be expanded for a planned capacity of approximately 2,500 students.

What is the target opening date for the second high school?

Based on the timeline presented during the June 12, 2018 Board of Trustees meeting, fall of 2022 is the target for the first phase of a new high school to be complete. This timing will be impacted by a variety of factors, including when the District can take ownership of the property.  However, all planning will be undertaken with the goal of opening the facility as soon as possible.   

Will the Board of Trustees be transparent regarding the property negotiations phase?

While the Board of Trustees and the District value transparency and know it is important to the community, discussions of the specifics of property purchases and terms for negotiating those purchases must take place in closed session meetings to protect the district’s ability to negotiate the best deal on behalf of the taxpayers. If we were to discuss the options in detail in public, sellers have the opportunity to drive up the cost of property, thus leaving the district less money to devote to the design and construction. Also, many sellers require confidentiality through the negotiation process. This is not dissimilar from the process of buying a home. 

How will the second high school project be funded?

The Board of Trustees earmarked $100 million in Measure H funds for the initial phase of a future high school in eastern Dublin.

Is $100 million enough to build the first phase of the high school?

The design of the school will be developed with the Board’s budget for the school in mind. District staff have opined that the first phase of a comprehensive high school can be built on the Promenade site within this budget. Board members also made clear at their meeting of June 12 that if it is necessary to spend more to get the first phase of the high school that Dublin students deserve, the Board would be willing to do so.