Changes could be coming to the Sisters of Mercy campus in Burlingame, where officials with the religious institution are launching a public outreach campaign to receive feedback on the future of the expansive campus.
Plans are being explored to expand the athletic facilities for Mercy High School, the all-girls institute located at the campus, as well as build new housing at the 40-acre site at 2300 Adeline Drive.
These interests are balanced against hopes to preserve the woodsy character of the environment, while also advancing the educational and spiritual interests of the religious organization, according to sisters with the organization.
While no official development plans have been filed, the website has collected hundreds of comments from residents offering their input on the future of the site. A series of community discussions have been hosted virtually over the past few months, gauging feedback on the potential to rebuild the campus.
Sister Amy Bayley, vice president of Mercy Housing, said while officials are dedicated to discussing potential redevelopment at the campus, details of the vision are not yet established.
“We don’t yet really have a plan,” said Bayley, who anticipated the planning process will continue to play out over the coming months with hopes that additional specifics could be available by the fall.
In the interim, officials are examining housing at the site which could accommodate members of the covenant as well as the larger Burlingame community, according to the website.
Sister Jean Hastie said the top priority will be assuring the sisterhood has a place to age gracefully. The covenant at the site was built roughly 50 years ago, and more modern accommodations are in order.
“The sisters need better housing as they age,” said Hastie.
Additionally, officials are examining the chance to build some affordable housing for low-income seniors who are members of the Burlingame community.
Noting the plans are still in the formative stages, Bayley said officials have determined there is a chance to rebuild an existing building abutting the Mercy Center that could accommodate between 65 and 75 housing units.
Additionally, opportunities to expand the growing Mercy High School campus are under exploration — specifically the athletic facilities.
Mercy High School is the only school in the San Francisco archdiocese which does not have its own gym, meaning teams must travel throughout the area to play home games.
The redevelopment vision makes way for building a new athletic center and student services hub on the Mercy campus, which would likely be in the first phase of any eventual construction, according to a discussion last month with the school community.
Beyond the school and motherhouse, the site is also home to a preschool, retirement center for the sisters as well as a conference room and retreat at the Mercy Center.
The crown jewel of the site is the Kohl Mansion, which the Sisters used a convent and a motherhouse until 1931 when they opened the school. A classroom wing was eventually added and additional expansion projects followed.
Today, the 63-room Kohl Mansion serves as the heart and soul of Mercy High School, Mercy Center and the Mercy Convent. In 1982, the mansion was even entered into the National Register of Historic Places, which lists historically significant sites throughout the United States.
Acknowledging the site’s historical relevance as well as its significance to the surrounding community, officials committed to preserving the character and beauty of the natural environment throughout the potential redevelopment.
Throughout the early stages of the planning process, Bayley said residents have made it abundantly clear that they want the character of the campus to be preserved.
Balancing those perspectives against a need to build new housing for the sisters and community will be a key piece of the planning process, which Bayley made clear will continue for the coming months before more specifics are available.
“It is months before we get an initial concept,” she said.
Visit https://courbanize.com/projects/mercy-campus to find out more about the future of the campus and offer feedback.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 105