A Message from President Miller: Investing District Property Assets for Students Generations to Come

A message from PUSD Board President Mark Miller:

Over the last year, the Pleasanton Unified School District has engaged in a comprehensive facilities master planning process to assess existing property assets and determine needs relating to aging school facilities. In the fall of 2021, the Trustees took action to include three District properties in the City’s Housing Element Plan. This action was taken to leverage existing, underutilized property assets to enhance existing school facilities and ensure future generations of students have access to modern facilities in which to learn, play and grow.        

At our request, the City of Pleasanton included the three properties (District Office, a vacant property off of Vineyard Road, and a portion of the Donlon School Field) in the City’s Housing Element Plan earlier this year. We engaged with various community partners around each of the three properties and received helpful input. This week, the Superintendent requested that one of those properties, the field adjacent to Donlon Elementary School, be removed from the City’s Housing Elements Plan. 

By preserving the portion of Donlon field, we hope to make a different kind of investment in the school and the surrounding community. To that end, PUSD looks forward to ongoing discussions with the City to build consensus around a plan that would benefit both the school and neighborhood. This could include a Joint Use Agreement relating to the Donlon Field that provides for shared field space that serves our students and families, as well as the neighborhood residents.

At our July 14 meeting, the Board of Trustees approved the acquisition of an existing Hacienda Business Park property referred to as the Arroyo Building. This move will allow a majority of District Office functions to be centralized in one location, and eliminate anticipated expenses related to modernization of the current facility. The current District Office property at 4665 Bernal Avenue is extremely valuable given the need for housing as well as its proximity to downtown and public transportation. The seven acres of the existing property being considered for sale, have been assessed by the District’s real estate brokers at $31 - $34 million, compared to the $23.5 million purchase price of the new office space. 

The proceeds of the sale of the Bernal property would not only cover the cost of purchasing the new facility and any tenant improvements, the funds would also provide resources to invest in other facility (capital) improvements that would directly benefit PUSD students. As an added benefit, the Arroyo property hosts leased office space, which presents an additional revenue source yielding an annual return of approximately $1 million. 

As fiscal stewards for our students and the broader community, this acquisition is an investment that just makes sense. By preserving approximately three acres of the Bernal property, we will pave the way for vital facility improvements at Village High School and space for the growing Pleasanton Virtual Academy. Village High School students are currently housed in buildings constructed in the 1950’s on a campus with significant safety and ADA compliance issues. We can and must do better for a growing population of students that benefit from a non-traditional school option. 

As a community, it is vital that we come together to ensure all Pleasanton students have access to high quality school facilities, including innovative spaces to learn, play, perform, and compete.