San Mateo Union High School District officials are advancing a plan to sell the former Crestmoor High School campus, which they hope will help finance visions to build new homes for teachers.
The district shared their vision for the 40-acre site during a meeting Tuesday, Aug. 4, when they discussed with community members next steps in the plan to sell the San Bruno land targeted for residential development.
With Peninsula High School slated to move from the site, district officials released a request for proposals from home builders potentially interested in purchasing the property.
Noting the process is still in its early stages, Superintendent Kevin Skelly said officials believe the profit generated by an eventual deal will be key in allowing the district to build teacher housing.
“We believe employee housing would be a game changer for us in terms of attracting staff,” said Skelly, regarding plans to build affordable homes for teachers struggling to afford the cost of living locally.
District officials have yet to determine a site where they could build the workforce housing, but discussions have largely circled around the Mills High School campus.
For the former Crestmoor High School, officials believe about 25 acres of the campus could accommodate development of single-family homes — in alignment with the surrounding neighborhood and the city’s zoning for the site.
Neighbors and members of the San Bruno community peppered school officials with questions about plans for the site during the meeting, with interests ranging from specifics about the potential buyer to future traffic regulations.
District officials suggested it is too early to address such detailed elements, but noted redevelopment plans must work through the public approval process which will yield ample opportunity to examine the project closely.
A majority of the questions from San Bruno residents circled around the fate of the athletic space at the campus, which the district leases to the city for soccer fields.
Skelly said officials are well aware of the importance of the fields to San Bruno, and that efforts are underway to assure that the community loses no athletic space through the redevelopment.
In previous discussions, officials have weighed a chance to include the fields at Crestmoor in the forthcoming residential development, with plans to build new fields elsewhere in a more centrally located part of San Bruno.
“We realize this is an integral part of the community,” said Skelly, regarding the athletic fields. The fields are currently closed due to the pandemic, said Skelly.
Less essential to the community and school district is preserving the site as an educational center, said Skelly, who expected the campus will be vacated and fenced once the alternative school relocates.
A new Peninsula High School is under construction on Hinckley Road in Burlingame, where officials believe it will be more accessible to students than the relatively remote site in San Bruno.
The alternative school has been the central occupant of the campus since the former comprehensive school closed in 1980. District officials said many of the facilities are antiquated and would require a significant investment upgrade.
With an expectation that the school grounds will fall into disrepair once maintenance workers stop visiting, Skelly said he expects it will become “something of an attractive nuisance.”
To that end, Skelly said redevelopment will likely improve the quality of life for neighbors to the campus while also eventually fulfilling the district’s hopes of becoming a more desirable destination for potential teaching hires.
In the meantime though, Skelly said officials are dedicated to keeping the community informed as the development moves through its planning stages.
“We are trying very hard to communicate well on this,” he said.
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