A rendering of the future Bayshore Elementary campus, which will absorb Robertson Intermediate and install state-of-the-art technology in classrooms. (Courtesy BCA Architects)

A rendering of the future Bayshore Elementary campus, which will absorb Robertson Intermediate and install state-of-the-art technology in classrooms. (Courtesy BCA Architects)

School consolidation to revitalize Bayshore in Daly City

Daly City’s Bayshore Elementary School District is celebrating tentative approval of a plan that would facilitate the replacement of two aging school buildings with one state-of-the-art campus.

The Bayshore neighborhood has its own school district, which contains just two schools: Bayshore Elementary and Robertson Intermediate.

Aspects of the proposed real estate deal were a source of contentious debate in the community, but all sides consistently agreed the district needed to replace its existing buildings, which are old and crumbling.

Under the proposal, the Bayshore Elementary campus would be redeveloped, and the resulting new facility would serve both elementary and intermediate school students. With the schools’ consolidation, the Robertson campus would be sold to a developer, who would build 71 market-rate homes on the site.

The district says it needs $25 million from the sale to fund construction of the new campus. And in order for the Robertson property to be worth that much, potential buyers would have to be freed of the inclusionary housing requirement that normally applies to such a project.

To meet that requirement, the district is giving another piece of property to the San Mateo County Housing Authority, which will construct 18 affordable rental units on the site.

The fates of all three projects were previously in question, because City Manager Pat Martel said the city would need a $1.7 million guarantee the affordable housing would actually get built before she would approve the unconventional arrangement.

The county eventually agreed it would pay the $1.7 million fee if it failed to build the promised affordable housing.

Martel has withdrawn her objections, and the proposal will likely be approved by the City Council during its April 25 session.

There won’t be much room for further delays if the district hopes to meet its target of completing the new facility by September 2017. But Superintendent Audra Pittman said finding a buyer for the Robertson site won’t be a problem, as several developers have already expressed interest.

The new facility will have a host of modern features, Pittman said. Chalkboards might seem archaic to students educated in the new building, where each classroom will have an interactive whiteboard and smart TV. The new campus will also include tablet computers or Chromebooks, Pittman said, and the school will house both a maker’s lab and a “STEAM” lab.

The superintendent explained “STEAM” is a twist on the STEM acronym, and throws art into the mix, abbreviating “science, technology, engineering, arts and math.”

Also included is a theater stage, half of which extends into an outdoor area. A door dividing the two halves will slide open to facilitate outdoor concerts and plays, Pittman noted.

The gleaming new campus, plus the new housing, could transform the neighborhood.

“These projects will forever change this community,” Pittman said.

San Mateo County Housing Department Director Ken Cole said the arrangement, which allows the Housing Authority to build 18 new rental units, is a boon to residents who couldn’t have afforded home purchases even at below-market-rate prices.

“The demand and the need for affordable rentals is just much, much greater,” Cole noted.

District Spokesman Rolando Bonilla said he was grateful to Vice Mayor David Canepa for his advocacy, which helped pave the way toward the parties reaching an agreement.

“The Bayshore is in desperate need of a new school,” Canepa said. “And by working together, the city, district and county are meeting that need, as well as the need for both affordable and market-rate housing.”Audra PittmanBayshore Elementary School DistrictBrendan BartholomewDaly CityDavid CanepaeducationKen ColePat MartelRobertson IntermediateRolando Bonillaschools

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