The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District wants to lease city-owned land on Bryant Avenue in Mountain View to house Freestyle Academy of Communication Arts and Technology, but negotiations are taking longer than expected.
“We were hoping to have the negotiations finished already and start the construction this spring, but we’re still working on it,” MVLA Trustee Debbie Torok said.
The land, which is on the entry drive to Alta Vista High School, is currently unoccupied, but the city is considering creating a landing there for a pedestrian ramp that would cross Highway 85 from Bryant Avenue to Remington Drive.
Freestyle Academy, a communications and technology program for juniors and seniors, is currently housed in portable classrooms on the Mountain View High campus. Torok said that location could be used for parking or additional classrooms for Mountain View High should the district need them. The best thing about using the empty land, she added, is that it’s empty. To construct new facilities for Freestyle Academy on the land the district already has, they would have to displace students or administrators during the construction process.
The district has budgeted $14.3 million to $16.3 million for the new building, which would include a photography space, audio and video recording studios and a digital media lab.
Torok said the site could accommodate both a building for Freestyle Academy and the end of the pedestrian ramp.
Dennis Drennan, real property program administrator for the city of Mountain View, agreed that it should work out. He said they’ve divided the 1.2-acre lot into three conceptual areas: a little less than half an acre for the Freestyle building, one section for the eventual bridge landing and one flexible zone that could be parking for Freestyle Academy but also could be used as a construction staging area.
The city would retain ownership of the land but lease it to the district, which would own the buildings constructed there. The model is already in place just next door at Alta Vista High, where the city owns the land but the district owns the building.
Drennan said the city hopes to reach an agreement with the district in the next couple of months, but the pedestrian ramp is still many years off. The ramp would connect to the Stevens Creek Trail as part of an initiative to extend the trail south into Los Altos and Sunnyvale, but Mountain View wants to make sure that Los Altos and Sunnyvale are really interested before it gets to work extending the path. Mountain View also would need to come up with the $7 million or $8 million a pedestrian ramp of that kind would cost. The ramp would land on the west side of Highway 85 with a series of switchbacks, to make the ramp a grade that’s in keeping with the Americans with Disabilities Act.