School board update: District office, adult school moves

New details about Alameda Unified’s plans to move the district office and its adult school emerged at Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting. Efforts to move both began after district officials learned the portions of Historic Alameda High School they’re housed in aren’t earthquake safe.

District administrators are now saying they’re not sure they’ll be moving all of the district’s adult school programs at the Woodstock Education Center next year, and they said they may ultimately seek to purchase a Marina Village property to house the district office.

District administrators had recommended the board allow them to move the entire adult school to Woodstock, though Chief Business Officer Robert Shemwell said he thinks the district will maintain the Bay Area School of Enterprise’s lease there through the 2012-13 school year. The charter school has a lease on space at the school through 2016.

“It’s a wish and a prayer that we can get that whole program in one place,” said Shemwell. “But I think we have to set that goal.”

He said the district needs 10 to 12 classrooms to house its adult school programs and that he hopes to find a site nearby for anything that doesn’t fit at Woodstock next year; backup sites included Wood Middle School, Longfellow Education Center and Haight Elementary School.

Board president Margie Sherratt said she thinks moving to Woodstock could be a good opportunity for the adult school, which Shemwell said will be completely moved out of Historic Alameda High School after school ends in 10 weeks and will never return.

“Even if looking at Woodstock is a difficult shift for BASE, I really like the idea that it’s going to be serving the community where a lot of our adult students live,” Sherratt said. “It could be a great opportunity.”

Meanwhile, Shemwell said district officials wish to lease space in Marina Village to house the district office with the option to own, though the Atlantic Avenue space they hoped to lease has been sold.

The lease for the nearly 22,000 square foot building would have cost close to $30,000 a month, or $1.8 million over the five-year term recommended by district administrators. Shemwell said he didn’t know what the property was sold for, though he said it was listed at $3.9 million.

He said the offices would hold 80 to 100 district employees, though maintenance and operations workers would remain at Historic Alameda High School and food services staff will move to the central kitchen at Wood Middle School. Special education staff would be farmed out to the district’s schools.

Trustee Mike McMahon said he would not be able to make a decision on whether the district should lease or consider leasing and then buying a facility until he has a better understanding of state of district-wide facilities. But Superintendent Kirsten Vital said administrators have no choice but to rent space for the district office.

“We’ll continue to look at this commercial space, but as staff, we’re feeling like this is the only solution to this,” Vital said.


Just to clarify, my comment was intended to determine the school site priorities to be identified in the upcoming facilities report. There is only one pot of money, so I want to make sure we prioritize those monies properly. I believe there is no viable solution using existing school properties to relocate district offices.

Seems like we should start with our own facilities, if the portables are good enough for our kids then why not for district staff.
Did they let the Island High portables fall apart until their unusable? or can we still utilize those campus buildings.

the district offices used to be at 400 Grand Street now in use by Wood as classrooms. There are empty rooms in Wood proper so that those portables should be usable as offices once again--if indeed the district has to move. Do they have to move into a facility that meets the Field Act? If not, why move at all?--unless the administration would like something classier than the old high school. When the offices were at 400 Grand, the district was much larger because the Navy was still here. The move into the Central Avenue facility was basically a political one since the community was determined to retain that building and so they had to use it. It is like storage space at home get rid of stuff to make more space, and then get more stuff to fill it up. To move or not to move is not an educational decision and should be made by the community including recommendations from the administration. Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that the school board works for u, and the superintendent for the board, as our representative.

Hey Vince: Both CBO Robert Shemwell and board president Margie Sherratt said last night that those portables are unusable, and Shemwell recommended they be cleared. He said they are 20+ years old and that their manufacturer is no longer in business. He said they are covered with graffiti and have been broken into by vagrants, and are a "liability" and a "hazard" for the district.