SAN MATEO — A small private school serving students with learning disabilities aims to rebuild its campus to accommodate more special-needs children.
Stanbridge Academy — which currently has 101 students in kindergarten to 12th grade — plans to tear down two small buildings to make room for additional classrooms, said Marilyn Lynch, the head of school.
"We love where we are," she said. "However, we're getting to the point that we need more space."
The buildings to be demolished mostly house offices and are not being used to their maximum potential, she said.
The project would create about 12,500 square feet of classrooms, 6,000 square feet of multipurpose space and a 17-stall parking garage, according to a San Mateo staff summary report. The renovation would bring 59 additional students and eight new teachers to the campus at 515 E. Poplar Ave.
"A lot of students with special needs want to go to this school because of our teachers trained (in personalized, diverse instruction) and we have small class sizes," Lynch said. "We could be here for more students who need this type of education."
However, the project has raised some traffic concerns from Christine Morgan, who owns a townhouse in the 400 block of North Claremont Street across from one side of the school.
She is worried that the project could increase traffic on the street, she said in an e-mail to the city.
"I am happy for anything Stanbridge wants to do if it will improve the neighborhood," she wrote. "My main and very real concern is the impact of traffic, both from a risk perspective and from the impact that added traffic would have on the property values on that block of North Claremont."
Stanbridge is willing to take advice from the city to address neighborhood issues, Lynch said. However, she doesn't think a renovated school will generate much additional traffic.
"A lot of our students use the train and carpool," she said, "and we don't have extended care."
The school features a circular driveway for student pickup and drop-off that helps with traffic flow, she added.
Lynch did not have a project cost but said the school would need to launch a capital fundraising campaign.
Ideally, the rebuilt campus would open in the next couple of years, she said.
Neil Gonzales covers education. Reach him at 650-348-4338.