Monday, December 11, 2006

Bullis-Purissima Soccer Fields

From Scott Vanderlip
December 10, 2006

Dear Los Altos Hills Residents –

I am concerned about potential loss of community school field space at the Bullis Purissima school site. Although the final LASD plans and any use agreements for the Bullis Fields from LASD are still not finalized for their remodel phase, I think it is important for concerned members of the community to be involved of various options they are proposing since they are under a very tight deadline to submit plans to start construction changes in June 2007. It is important to stress that we don’t know what LASD and LAH Town council will determine for the fieldsm but discussions are certainly underway and it would be helpful if the LAH community was well informed and involved in this important community asset. I hope that I am not too early with this alert but I don’t want to be too late either and be stuck with a decision that Los Altos Hills residents will be sorry they were not better informed about for the next decade or two. This item is planned to heard on the December 14th LAH council meeting agenda.

The Los Altos School District (LASD) is considering significant changes to the community playing fields at the Bullis-Purissima campus and potentially offering exclusive use of those fields for high school aged club soccer organizations as part of the planned remodel project starting in June 2007.

Although this is still in the proposal stage, the only real proposal on the table right now includes:

(1) Extensive grading of the two top Bullis fields into one large field to enable creating one large, artificial turf field that is big enough to support year round high school aged competitive soccer or even possibly a NCAA sized field.
(2) MY-LA Youth Soccer Association (club soccer) has offered to help fund the redevelopment of the fields in exchanged for exclusive use of them during non-school hours. (See emails and plans below)

A big lose for our community
This would be a significant lose-lose for our community and our kids. The Bullis site is the last of the LAH public and accessible community fields (other than the Purissima Little League fields where general public access is limited ) where the community can use the fields after hours for everything from playing catch to flying a kite or organized sports and community uses. This proposal could potentially change the field use from a community field area to primarily a highly used field for out of town high school aged competitive soccer leagues. Big fields (110 Yards) for high school aged soccer activities are hard to find and this field would likely be highly used by these older players.

High School Size or NCAA astro-turf field not needed for K-6 School
The Bullis elementary school site does not need a high school sized (110 Yards by 65 Yards) or NCAA sized artificial turf soccer field for it own K-6 school purposes. This larger field is not necessary to accommodate school PE program, or the younger AYSO soccer organizations games and practices that currently serve more LAH community members than the older MV-LA Youth Soccer organizations or even other organized sports and community activities.

The Town of Los Altos Hills and Los Altos School District should not allow our last precious field and park space to be redeveloped into a high school or adult size all weather/high use soccer field that gives club soccer organizations exclusive use of the fields while limiting community use of the last remaining community field and park space.

Schedule for field redevelopment
LASD is currently moving quickly to submit remodel plans to the state architects office by January 2007 and part of the plans they will be submitted will include this field re-grading project necessary to create this larger soccer field. The field redevelopment project could start as early as June 2007 along with the proposed site redevelopment . This item is suppose to appear on the Los Altos Hills Council agenda on Thursday December 14th since the town may be involved in some of the permitting process. Other financial and use agreements are being discussed between LASD and LAH concerning use of the fields although they have not been made public at this point yet.

Other proposals and costs:
No other proposals are on the table currently that look at simply restoring the top two fields to regular turf fields or proposals that look at other creative uses of the field sites to benefit Los Altos Hills park and recreation community uses. The extensive cost to re-grade the two fields into one field level to create one large soccer field is part of the 10 million dollar site renovation plan using school bond monies. These limited school bond funds should be used for school or fields improvements that can benefit primarily the school aged children during school hours and the local Los Altos Hill community after-school hours. Using our tax dollars to help create a regional club soccer center is not an appropriate use of our school tax dollars.

Field Design:
The current proposal involves a year round, high use artificial-turf solution rather than natural turf. This type of surface is specialized for certain sports and yet it often limits other uses and the original proposal submitted over a year ago included a fence around the field to control access and protect the fragile artificial-turf surface. This is not a field for the Sunday afternoon fly your kite in the neighborhood with your son or daughter.

Other Options:
Field space and flat park space is very scarce in Los Altos Hills, and the BP site is uniquely situated to develop multi-purpose field space and even other natural community park environments. One proposal might be to first restore the lower level turf field to a level acceptable for both soccer practice and games and other field sports and then develop the upper field into both a smaller turf field and other natural wild park / recreation area. We need to explore alternatives for the fields and how to make the best possible school and community use of the fields.

Call to Action:
If you feel the last remaining field space in Los Altos Hills should be better utilized for our school aged children and the Los Altos Hill community, then please stay informed. Most of the decision will rest within the LASD school board but certain permitting issues maybe within the control of the Town of Los Altos Hill.
For additional information, please contact Scott Vanderlip at (650) 948-6455 or by email at This item is suppose to appear on the Los Altos Hills Town Agenda on December 14th, 2006.

To further provide credibility for this current proposal, I have listed two references articles. The first is an email exchange that was obtained from the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requested from the LASD school district. The email shown below is a forwarded email from Rodney Robinson (President of the MV-LA Youth Soccer Association to Randy Kenyon (LASD) and then the forwarding and notating that email to the LASD board of trustees. The second is the current set of plans for the Bullis site remodel that shows the high school sized field and optionally the NCAA sized field after grading the top two fields into one larger field.

Reference 1: Email From Rodney Robinson to Randy Kenyon to LASD board of Trustees

FROM: Randy Kenyon
Sent: Wednesday 7/12/2006 1:27 PM
Subject: FW: Bullis Field development

Fyi: Rodney is the president of MV-LA Youth Soccer Association (club soccer) who presented a proposal to us about a year ago. They would renovate and remodel the fields at Bullis in exchange for exclusive use of them during non-school hours.

Randy Kenyon
Los Altos School District

---- Original Message -----
From: Rodney Robinson
Sent: Thursday, July 6, 2006 7:24 AM
Subject: Bullis field development

Randy –

I am checking in to see if it is a good time to move our Bullis soccer field redevelopment proposal forward. I understand that LASD is reopening Bullis in 2008, we would be delighted to donate funds to redevelop the field.

Let me know if the district is open to working with us. We can be flexible on the use agreement, as we are simply trying to increase the field capacity in the community which will benefit us as well.

Rodney Robinson


Reference #2 – Bullis Elementary School (Preliminary Grading Plan: Phase 1- November 8, 2006) This is one document scanned into two graphics.

Figure 1 – Western side of Bullis Site showing fields – The text in the field says “ HIGH SCHOOL SIZED SOCCER FIELD AT 65YD x 110 YD [DASHED]

Figure 2 – Easterly side of Bullis