Beechwood School gets room to grow
Belle Haven resident Matt Henry got his wish: There were five green lights on the dais on April 17. The City Council unanimously voted to sell 1.5 acres on Terminal Avenue to Beechwood School, a private Belle Haven facility for grades K-8.
For $1.25 million, the school not only got the 1.5 acres, but also the adjacent land the school currently sits on at 50 Terminal Ave.
According to principal Dave Laurence, the school plans to expand and build permanent structures to replace temporary facilities on the campus."We expect to start construction in the summer of 2013," he told the Almanac. "The plan is to do half of the project in the summer of 2013 and the other half in the summer of 2014."
The contract lets the city buy back the land for the purchase price if a new school "is not substantially completed" within five years, and also gives Menlo Park preference if the school decides to sell the land for a non-educational use.
The sight of actual construction going on at the site will be something the community hasn't seen for 11 years, despite Habitat for Humanity's efforts to build 22 affordable homes on the parcel since 2001. The nonprofit canceled the project after running into financial problems and community opposition.
Beechwood School faced its own challenges while trying to buy the land. Previously council members had stated that the school's bid was not high enough, but now both sides have decided that $1.25 million is a fair price.
"It's going to make our school better," Mr. Laurence told the council during the Tuesday night meeting, saying that now students will have "more room to run and play and learn."