ALAMEDA -- An agreement worked out between city and school district officials would pay for upgrades of the pools at Encinal High School and set aside 20 acres at Alameda Point for the district, which in turn would make available the former Island High School campus for affordable housing.

The agreement, which includes both the sale and exchange of land, still must be approved by the City Council, the Housing Authority and school district trustees. But leaders of all three are hailing the proposed deal, saying it offers a way to meet the need for future school growth and resolves other long-standing issues. Details of the agreement were made public Tuesday.

"We are gratified and relieved that we were able to craft an agreement with the city so that our swim community will have greatly improved swim facilities," school district Superintendent Kirsten Vital said. "These kinds of collaborative partnerships between the school district and the city are crucial to caring not only for our students but for the broader community."

The agreement would be implemented in three steps if all three sides approve it.

The city will initially provide the school district with $750,000 to upgrade the Encinal Swim Center, while the district would turn over its title to six acres of tidelands at the Encinal Terminal to the city.


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The next step calls for the city to convey 20 acres at Alameda Point to the Housing Authority, and for the school district to release the city from its obligation to provide it with 12 acres at Alameda Point.

The final step requires the district to turn over the former Island High School site to the Housing Authority in exchange for $1.2 million and for the authority's 20 acres at Alameda Point.

The city will be responsible for general maintenance of the parcel for a maximum of 10 years, according to he agreement.

"We are very excited about the fact that this collaboration was successful and that it will offer so much to our community," City Manager John Russo said. "This is the kind of pragmatic partnership Alamedans have long wanted between the city and school district."

What helps make the agreement a win for each side is that the school district's current tidelands property at Encinal Terminals, which is adjacent to the former Del Monte Warehouse on Buena Vista Avenue, is not ideal for a future school.

In its former role as a redevelopment agency, the city has also held in trust affordable housing funds earmarked for the school district for nearly 20 years. The fund now totals $4.6 million, according to city officials.

"This is truly a win-win-win situation," said Michael Pucci, executive director of the Alameda Housing Authority. "All three agencies benefit from this agreement, yet no one agency could have resolved these issues on their own. I am hopeful it can become a model for such partnerships moving forward."

School district trustees were briefed on the agreement Tuesday, when some public speakers said more community engagement should have gone into creating the proposal.

The total amount of $1.9 million that the district will receive as a result of the agreement equals what its consultant, Aquatic Design, said it would cost to renovate the Encinal Swim Center. The center features a heated outdoor pool and is used by the school's swim and water polo teams, as well as the public.

The City Council is expected to vote on the agreement March 4. School district trustees will take up the issue on March 11 and the Housing Authority on March 19.

Reach Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654 or follow him on Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty.

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