It's Official: Crystal Springs Submits Application For Middle School

School administrators and board members are counting on the newly aligned Belmont City Council to pave the way for construction of the school on Davis Drive.

CSUS architecural rendering   Photo: CSUS
CSUS architecural rendering Photo: CSUS

Crystal Springs Uplands School (CSUS) has taken the first step in the development process to build a new private middle school in Belmont.

On Friday, school administrators resubmitted an application to the City of Belmont to build a roughly 60,000-square-foot campus on Davis Drive---the same site that the prestigious Hillsborough K-12 school had its sights set on last year. 

Click here to read the letter CSUS submitted to the City of Belmont detailing information on the proposed project

Last fall, CSUS purchased 6, 8 and 10 Davis Drive for $11 million from Cengage Learning, the bankrupt owner of the vacant buildings.

In a 2012 description of the project, school officials said the proposed campus will replace 84,000 square feet of unused office and warehouse space with four main buildings (59,000 sq. ft.) and all-weather, regulation athletic field. The campus will be home to up to 240 students and about 35 faculty members.

The application is virtually the same as the application submitted in 2013 according to Jill Grossman, a CSUS school trustee--including the financial terms: a $1 million payment to the city's general fund and $250,000 annual payment, which is in lieu of property taxes. 

"The only change to the original application is we are proposing an enclosed swimming pool this time," said Grossman.

The original pool was to be outdoors, which raised noise concerns from residents. Grossman explained that the pool would be constructed at a later date. 

Grossman added that CSUS would also be working closely with the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District throughout the process. 

Carlos de Melo, Community Development Director for the City of Belmont confirmed the city's receipt of the application and explained that, among other things, a new traffic study would be undertaken as part of the CSUS application process.

On Tuesday city council will consider a resolution to enter into a service agreement with an environmental consulting firm to review the application. 

"We need to be sure that the application is current and legally adequate," said de Melo. 

He added that the next step in the process will be determined by when the environmental study is complete. 

Click here to read the letter CSUS submitted to the City of Belmont detailing information on the proposed project

mark January 13, 2014 at 10:24 AM
Richard January 13, 2014 at 11:44 AM
This doesn't seem to be a very good deal for Belmont. One time payment of USD 1 M. and not adjustable property tax? With the restricted infrastructure options on Ralston Avenue with road bikers, kids walking to and from school and cars not respecting speed rules (regardless if kids are present) this will create a traffic situation that will not make it safer for the our children. It will be interesting to see what the outcome of the environmental and traffic study will be. Common sense will provide a negative recommendation, politics will be concerned with their own legacy and re-election.
Rob January 13, 2014 at 12:32 PM
Richard and Mark...we could have 1000 employees in that space. We've been spoiled over the last 5-10 years with little activity going on in that office park. Traffic impact could be much worse if that was the case.
mark January 13, 2014 at 12:39 PM
My point exactly! It back traffic up now. I can only imagine how bad it will be when parents are dropping children off.
Richard January 13, 2014 at 12:40 PM
ROB: Safety first…Ralston today is already a dangerous road. That no accidents have happened is a miracle…You just want to add more traffic without considering infrastructure and safety?
Rob January 13, 2014 at 12:51 PM
No, I'd like it all examined. I watched all this go down the first time around and carefully watched the traffic study that was submitted at that time. I'm glad they want to work closely with the city regarding this. Big business would not care. And it would be an additional 600-750 cars. So..we should be careful for what we wish for. Traffic on Ralston impacts me multiple times daily. I've seen a huge increase in the last 2 years as the economy has improved along with the school districts re-zoning. I'd prefer that whoever moves into that space that they have an open mind to work with the city and CSUS has that as part of their plan.
Steve Hayes January 13, 2014 at 01:14 PM
We should have traffic studies, but more important we should pay attention to the conclusions of those studies. The last time this proposal came along there were two sets of traffic consultants - one set hired by the school and one set hired by the City (Belmont) to review the work of the school's consultant. Both sets of the "traffic experts" came to the same conclusion - the new school will have a minimal impact on traffic due to the early start time of the school and the fact that many of the students will be using a bus system.
Richard January 13, 2014 at 01:14 PM
Bottom line: Must be good for us all and not only CSUS..
Michelle Ladcani January 13, 2014 at 02:04 PM
As I sat in a jam of traffic today trying to get to my office on Davis Drive, all I could think about is how much worse it will be when all those students are trying to get to class at the SAME time (unlike office workers who come in at staggered times in the morning). And who thinks 7:45 a.m. is an "early" start time? That's when most people are on the roads trying to get to work. 7:30 a.m. would be considered early. I am not opposed to a new school in Belmont, but someone has got to show me how getting 250 kids to class at the same time willl not impact Ralston/Davis traffic. It already takes me over a half hour to drop off two kids at school in Belmont and then try and get to jammed Davis drive.
mark January 13, 2014 at 05:37 PM
I live near this intersection and it cause backup even in no peak time. Who ever did the study before didn't do a very good job because its going to be a nightmare. I work at carlmont shopping center and ad of now I have to to leave home a at 7:30 to be at work at 8.
rand1000 January 14, 2014 at 01:28 PM
Don't we have enough schools causing traffic hangups and snarls on Ralston?? You can barely get on Ralston now due to traffic directly related to our present schools. We are probably the only city that connects two major freeways with our main street !!! How much more are we going to add to it???
Tom January 16, 2014 at 02:40 PM
Mark if it really takes you 30 minutes to drive to Ralston Village from an intersection near Davis Drive, (which I find hard to believe) perhaps you should walk or bike to work. Its only a couple of miles. Be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem.
Force Ten January 22, 2014 at 01:42 PM
This would be a terrible thing for Belmont. This was voted down before…and I hope it is again. We had a petition against this being some of the thousands that live in the hills off of Ralston. Ralston is so congested now during school hours and events that building another school next door is irresponsible. During school hours or events where do us residents on the hill go for pizza? Over the hill to San Mateo. Where do we go for coffee? San Mateo. Have you ever looked at a map…the turn lane to the new school is enough for 2 cars…that means traffic will back up past the people trying to get out of Ralston making an already nightmarish traffic situation worse. So in short…where should the rich kids from San Mateo build their private school? San Mateo.
Steve Hayes January 22, 2014 at 07:21 PM
As this project move into evaluation I hope we can have an honest discussion about it's impact. If you really feel strongly about the project use your real name. The comments below this story include 5 "people" who have never posted to the Patch before - I can't tell if the comments come from five different people or one person posting multiple times using five different names. I think we all appreciate diverse ideas/opinion and we should demand honestly.
Michelle Ladcani January 22, 2014 at 07:53 PM
Hello, it's Michelle - using my real name. I am not opposed to a new school in Belmont - my children and I have attended 8 Belmont schools ourselves: NDE, NDHS, CND, BCLC, Barrett, Ralston, Nesbit and IHM. My neice attends Carlmont and my friend owns a school in Belmont. So we are HUGE supporters of Belmont Schools. I am upset about the location of the school. As I have said before, I work at 1 Davis and every day I sit in crazy traffic dropping off two kids in a 3-mile radius - I leave my house on Ridge at 7:40 and do not get into work at 1 Davis until 8:25 - that's a 45-minute commute driving the Belmont roads every morning. Now, on top battling the student-traffic at IHM, CHS travelers, the Belmont Oaks drop-offs, the Cipriani student/parent walkers and all the working commuters on the roads, another 240 students/parents/teachers will be adding to the mess that is out there (Cipriani/Lyall/Ralston/Davis). I am open to listening on how the school intends to get those students into the small Davis Drive at the same starting time (as opposed to workers who come in at different hours/times of the day). I will keep an open mind, but please do not tell me there's not a lot of traffic out there at 8:00 a.m. in the morning.
Force Ten January 23, 2014 at 11:39 AM
@Steve Hayes First off…using your full name on the internet isn't the smartest thing a person can do these days. Maybe I should put my Social Security number on here as well…what could go wrong? I can assure you I've never posted here under another name…I don't give my e-mail address away and sign up for things so my mail can get spammed unless I feel very strongly about it. Maybe the reason your seeing new people signing up to post their thoughts is because they are impacted by this and want their view to bee seen. It's interesting how you try to discredit them right off the bat instead of talking about their concerns. So…you need to wait for traffic studies? That just shows that your comments probably have no merit. Those of us that actually live in Belmont don't need these studies, because we live and breathe this nightmare everyday. You just showed your cards that you probably don't even live here and most likely just have business interests here or similar. Last time this proposal was up…the "traffic experts" hired are a little suspect. One was hired by the school district, that obviously has bias in this situation…and one was hired by the city of Belmont…that stands to gain a $1 million dollar lump sum and an additional $250 thousand a year from this deal…not exactly balanced either. It's alarming that Crystal Springs has already bought buildings on Davis to the tune of $11 million dollars in anticipation that it will pass…it's like they know it will pass. This is something the citizens of Belmont should be able to vote on…not left up to a council of 5 people that just see dollar signs.
Joan S. Dentler (Editor) January 23, 2014 at 12:03 PM
Force Ten...This is a friendly reminder that Patch asks users to keep comments respectful and on topic. Thank you.
Force Ten January 23, 2014 at 12:14 PM
Apologies Joan…you might want to shoot a reminder to Steve as well. My first posts here are being greeted by being called a fraud and saying I'm not honest. Not exactly fun for a first time user…but I'm sure this assault is only because I have an opinion that differs from his. For the record…I love Belmont…my family moved here in 1976 and I attended John MacDougal grammar school (long timers remember this school). My name is actually still up there on a tile that the classes did for the Bicentennial year…lol. My son is currently a Junior at Carlmont High School and went to Ralston middle school for 3 years…so I have an opinion and would like to voice it. Thank You!
Joan S. Dentler (Editor) January 23, 2014 at 12:23 PM
Agreed.....the CSUS application is clearly a topic that will receive much debate in our community and many are passionate about the projects pros and cons. Thank you, Steve, and all our users for the opportunity to remind everyone that this platform is for constructive, respectful discussion----even when we disagree.
Force Ten January 23, 2014 at 02:36 PM
Lets talk about the "Ralston Avenue Corridor Study" for a moment This study done by the City of Belmont states in the study background and I quote " The peak hour congestion is further exacerbated  by the variations in roadway widths and number lanes  unconnected segments of bicycle lanes and sidewalks  presence of schools, businesses, and housing which all creates various bottlenecks and conflicts along the corridor." So…the city has a study that talks about the existing bottlenecks and conflicts already. The study is done to see about improvements for "multi-modal" travel on Ralston. Basically…they are trying to make safer bike lanes and sidewalks for those modes of travel on Ralston. Two of the suggested solutions have cons to adding bike lanes. SOLUTION 4B "• Increased vehicle travel time • Increased vehicle delay • Transit vehicles would be affected by any increase in vehicle delay and travel time" SOLUTION 4C " • Increased vehicle travel time • Transit vehicles would be affected by any increase in vehicle delay and travel time" So we have a study that has solutions that further increase vehicle delays on Ralston…and all of this without adding another school and 250 more students and staff. Does Belmont really need to spend more money on another study for this new proposed school when they already have one that speaks of the congestion on Ralston. Are we really supposed to believe that adding another school there would have "no impact". Maybe they are under the impression we aren't capable of reading the RAC study they already did.


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