San Mateo-Foster City Elementary School District officials may start looking at property in San Mateo to build another elementary school after a study shows the last available site in Foster City may not be feasible.
District officials began searching for a site to build a new school after enrollment projections estimated the district would grow by 13 percent in the next five years. That growth would put the existing schools at or beyond capacity.
Micaela Ochoa, San Mateo-Foster City Elementary School District’s chief business official, said a potential school site owned by Foster City — a 3.9-acre parcel off Halibut Street — was determined to be too small, has too much flooding potential and there are too many jurisdictions to work with.
“It’s not feasible,” Ochoa said. “We are not recommending pursuing it.”
Ochoa said the discussions and search for a school site will continue into the early part of next year. The elementary school district would like to have a location chosen by the end of 2010 in order to begin construction for the 450-student campus in 2011.
The San Mateo-Foster City District has an estimated 10,400 students in 20 elementary and middle schools. Four of those schools are in Foster City; the other 16 are located in San Mateo.
Officials have focused their search for a construction site on Foster City because that’s where growth is projected.
A feasibility study on the Halibut Street site was conducted from September through November. According to the study, if the district were to build on that property, located off Beach Park Boulevard, the building would block views of the Bay from nearby residences, and likely endanger six native plants. The report also noted problems with developing on marshland.
Ochoa said the district will begin looking to purchase land from a private entity or possibly partner with the city of San Mateo for a shared land use.
Foster City parent Derrek Gittoes, 39, said Foster City students could use a new elementary school, so it shouldn’t be placed in San Mateo.
“[San Mateo is] on the other side of the freeway — no one wants to drive over there to drop our kids off at school,” the father of two said. “We need one here.”
Another report with additional options will be presented to the school board early next year, Ochoa said.
10,400 Students in the district
13 percent Projected enrollment growth in the next five years
6 Acres needed for new school
Source: San Mateo-Foster City Elementary School District