School district could seek to reclaim Singleton Avenue sites

School district could seek to reclaim Singleton Avenue sites

Michele Ellson
Island High School

Schools officials are seeking to expand Alameda Unified’s footprint by reclaiming a pair of properties adjacent to the Alameda Naval Air Station.

District officials are seeking school board approval to ask the federal government to let them reclaim a pair of Singleton Avenue properties where they hope to once again house the district’s Woodstock Child Development Center preschool program and Island High School, the district’s continuation school.

The property could also be used as a central location housing Alameda Unified’s special education staffers, who are currently scattered across the Island.

If the federal government signs off on a no-cost public benefit transfer, Alameda Unified could have the newly rehoused schools up and running within 24 months of taking title to the properties.

The school board will discuss the matter at its meeting tonight.

Schools officials relinquished the two Singleton Avenue properties in 2010 and 2011 to avoid costly water and sewer upgrades the district would need to complete in order to remain. Both of the schools that operated there have since been moved to the former Longfellow Elementary School campus.

One of the properties, 250 Singleton Avenue, housed Miller Elementary School from 1975 to 2006 and Island High between 2008 and 2011. The other property, 240 Singleton Avenue, housed the preschool between 2005 and 2010.

Before relinquishing it, the school district had leased the property from the Navy since 1965, at no cost, and originally hoped to take title in 2012, after cleanup of toxics at the site was complete.

But a recent demographic study estimated the district’s student population will grow by 1,000 students over the next decade, with much of that growth expected to occur on the Island’s West End as new housing development takes place. The district’s student census has already grown to the point that rooms that had been used for special purposes are being repurposed as classrooms, and some schools are so full that dozens of students are being bumped to less crowded campuses.

In its application for the property, district officials said they’d like to be able to have the Longfellow campus available for future use as an elementary school, to accommodate anticipated growth.

The district estimates the cost of fixing up both campuses at around $11.4 million – money that could come from the Measure I bond or other sources. The district’s current plan is to use the buildings as schools for the next 30 years.

Woodstock Child Development Center serves 165 preschoolers, while Island High serves 161 high school students. The district’s application says both groups of students would be better served on separate campuses and that a move would allow the district to expand the programs to provide more special education services to preschoolers and career technical education on the high school campus.

The prospective high school campus is 4.8 acres, while the second property is 1.15 acres. Both are already set up to accommodate students.

The board meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue. The application and additional materials are available on the school district’s website.