The Pleasanton school board paved the way last week for the district to purchase the Arroyo Center in Hacienda Business Park for $23.5 million to become the new home of the district headquarters.
The 4-1 vote in favor of the sales purchase agreement on May 12 that would see the Pleasanton Unified School District acquire the West Las Positas Boulevard property through debt-financing, with the goal of recouping those funds through the sale of part of the current district property on Bernal Avenue, likely for future residential development.
"There are multiple reasons why this makes sense," Trustee Joan Laursen said at the meeting.
Because of the poor condition of the buildings at the Bernal property, the relocation of the district offices and Village High School is imminent, according to Laursen. Furthermore, the new property would result in better facilities and the selling price of the Bernal land is significantly higher than the cost of Arroyo Center purchase, she said.
Trustee Kelly Mokashi cast the dissenting vote following the public debate on the need and benefits of buying the property.
"I really feel that I'm concerned about the timeliness and I still have a lot of concerns and there are some questions that haven't been answered," Mokashi said. Student Trustee Saachi Bhayani also opposed the purchase.
The Arroyo Center is located at 5758 and 5794 W. Las Positas Blvd. in Hacienda Business Park. It includes two buildings and stretches across 6.69 acres of land with approximately 113,000 square feet of facility space -- the available area is 67,113 square feet, with 37,628 square feet currently rented.
The financing contingency period under the sales agreement is for 75 days, with a 10-day extension possible, to secure a certificate of participation (COP), which is the borrowing means PUSD would use to fund the purchase. A $200,000 deposit would be non-refundable once the physical and financing contingency are removed.
Following the purchase, the district plans to place about 7 acres of the district offices and Village High property on the market for sale, likely to draw interest from residential developers. Located on the edge of downtown Pleasanton, the property is estimated to be worth between $31 million and $34 million, district staff said.
Board President Mark Miller supported the acquisition plan, saying that the district holding onto the Bernal property wouldn't be beneficial to anyone.
"We've been sweating these assets for a long, long time," Miller said. "Holding on to this doesn't do anything, honestly."
"I think that we need to move forward with this," added Trustee Mary Jo Carreon.
Following the meeting, Mokashi reached out to the Weekly to reiterate her concerns about the purchase of the Arroyo Center property.
"(It) appears to have been accelerated despite multiple unknown factors and contingencies, including the potential sale of the PUSD's downtown property," she said.
Mokashi said addressing accessibility issues for both district offices and the Village High School is important and she supports promoting a conducive, positive work and school learning environment, but reconsidering options is crucial.
"However, I feel that the board needs to consider additional options to determine the best long-term solutions," she said.
Even though time and resources are limited, timeliness is required, according to Mokashi.
"We need to demonstrate the ability to address district issues in a timely fashion and to show that we are aware of the impact our decisions have on all of our students," she said.
Under the plan staff suggest that all district functions including office spaces like the superintendent's office, business services, student support, teaching, learning and human resources move to the Arroyo Center.
Other operations that will also relocate to the available space in the office building include the boardroom, training and adult classroom spaces, adult education and career technical education program, graphics, technology, maintenance and warehouse, special education and Tri-Valley Special Education Local Plan area.
The goals for the move is to strengthen intervention and support structures to effectively improve the physical, mental and social wellness of students, families and staff, along with the goal to sustain effective customer service, communication, and stakeholder engagement, according to district staff.