Developer offers to sell district site for a new school

Officials hunting for a place to build a new school now have another option on the table.

Property owner Max Keech last week unveiled plans to restore wetlands and build housing on 109 acres of undeveloped land on the northeastern edge of Redwood Shores, and offered to set aside land for a school as part of the project. He is asking $12 million for a 7-acre site within his project, an offer the district is weighing carefully.

“I thought that was very high, when most developers donate the land,” said Joe DiGeronimo, interim business manager for the district.

The Belmont-Redwood Shores School District plans to build a new school — with the aid of a $25 million bond approved by residents last fall — that will reduce overcrowding at Sandpiper Elementary.

So far, a site-selection committee has narrowed the list of potential sites down to five, including two adjacent to the Belmont Sports Center, two others located near Mariner Park and behind the Redwood Shores fire station, and Keech’s concept, according to Joe DiGeronimo, interim business manager for the district.

The district aims to spend no more than $10 million for up to 7 acres.

Keech’s design, which also includes 95 acres of restored wetlands and approximately 110 townhomes, has not been submitted to the city. “If the district determines this is the site they want to pursue, the next step would be to prepare an application,” Keech said.

Reducing the price on the school parcel would mean building more homes and restoring a smaller area of wetlands, Keech added.

Many Redwood Shores residents would prefer a site in Redwood Shores to one near Belmont, according to Vice Mayor Roseanne Foust, who is raising two young daughters in the community.

“We’d like a site many children could walk and bike to — that’s how Sandpiper is,” Foust said. “Are the Belmont sites easy to walk and bike to? No.”

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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