Mills Montessori moving to South S.F.

The Mills Montessori School is looking forward to tapping into the demand generated by the biotechnology industry as it moves from Millbrae to South San Francisco.

With lots of working people comes the need for children’s services, said Simin Fallah, the owner and director of Mills Montessori, and the “birthplace of biotechnology” is a good area if you’re in the day-care business.

“We’re open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” Fallah said. “It is an advantage for parents who are working.”

Darin Wright, whose son started at Mills last September, said the independent learning community Mills will bring to South San Francisco will be welcomed.

“I think it’ll definitely add to the quality of life because it would add more (educational) options,” Wright said.

The school, which had its 18-year home sold last spring by the Millbrae School District, has signed a lease with the South San Francisco Unified School District to take over nearly 14,000 square feet of the 31,382-square-foot vacant Hillside School. The lease comes at the price of $1 per square foot.

But a use permit has taken five months to get, South San Francisco Unified Superintendent Barbara Olds, said. The city’s Planning Commission approved a permit at its meeting Thursday.

Olds said she wasn’t concerned about competition from Mills Montessori because it was predominantly a preschool. She was excited about getting the school into the Hillside site.

“You don’t want a closed school. It just promotes vandalism,” Olds said of the property, which has been closed since June 2004.

The district is still looking for tenants for five classrooms and four portables, she said. Mills Montessori and some offices for the San Mateo County Office of Education will take up more than half of the buildings’ floor space, according to a South San Francisco staff report.

Mills Montessori must move out of their space on Alp Way in Millbrae by June 2007. The Millbrae School District sold the 10.7-acre site for $20.1 million rather than continue to lease it because they felt it made better financial sense.

dsmith@examiner.com

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