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Private school planned for Bay Meadows
May 08, 2012, 05:00 AM By Heather Murtagh Daily Journal Staff

Heather Murtagh/Daily Journal Land formally used for the Bay Meadows race track could be the home to a new private high school, an expansion of the program offered by The Nueva School in Hillsborough.

Initial rendering of what the school may look like.

A 400-student private school appears to be the latest addition slated for the former Bay Meadows race track site in San Mateo.

The Nueva School in Hillsborough has entered an agreement to purchase property on the Bay Meadows site; the price is not being released due to a nondisclosure agreement. Plans to build a private high school for up to 600 were previously submitted to San Mateo. The three-acre site would have 134,790 square feet of buildings and an 18,220-square-foot garage, according to the city website. Submitted in April, the city will hold two meetings on the topic later this month.

If approved, the development would allow the school to basically double its total number of students, said Lisa Arone, director of marketing and communications for Nueva. The hope is to start construction in March 2013, explained Michael Stoner, owner’s representative for The Nueva School. While being built to accommodate 600 students, the current goal is to house 400 students at the site, he said.

The Nueva School, which currently serves students in preschool through eighth grade at a campus in Hillsborough, was founded in 1967 as an independent coeducational day school for the gifted, according to the school’s website. The Hillsborough campus sits on 33 wooded acres which includes a variety of amenities. The school offers small class sizes, project-based learning and special teachers in a number of subjects.

If the school’s plans move forward, classes could start in 2013 although students may not be able to use the site right away. Developing the curriculum will be another challenge, one that will take place during the construction process to be sure the building meets the needs of the school. Stoner acknowledged the timeline is tight but believes it to be realistic. Down the road, the hope is to have the campus include a 425-seat theater, but that will require a separate fundraising effort. Like the Hillsborough campus, the San Mateo space just south of the San Mateo County Event Center would be amenable to opening the space to community partnerships like summer schools or athletic programs.

Proximity to public transportation and a community park were perks for the school when it came to choosing a location. The school plans to offer its own bus for students as well, a move that reduces the possible traffic impact and also supports the school’s belief in environmental stewardship.

Bay Meadows Phase II includes three public parks totaling 15 acres and a community garden.

It will include 1,171 residential units, up to 1.5 million square feet of office space and about 90,000 square feet of retail space. It will be within walking distance of both the Hayward Park and Hillsdale Caltrain stations. Earlier this month, it was announced that two developers had signed on to build housing at the Bay Meadows Phase II development in San Mateo. Shea Homes will build a 93-unit community while TRI Pointe Homes will build 63 units on the site. The Shea Homes project will overlook a 12-acre park that will feature several floor plans with two-, three- and four-bedroom homes.

The Nueva School application is available for public review at the city’s planning division in City Hall. A neighborhood meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, May 14 in Conference Room C at City Hall, 330 W. 20th Ave. A Planning Commission Study Session is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 22 at City Hall in the council chambers.

Heather Murtagh can be reached by email: or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 105.

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