Could the historic Superior Automotive garage at 16th and Albion streets be converted into a K-8 school by fall 2020?
At Tuesday evening’s pre-application meeting to discuss potential designs for the Spanish Infusion School, formerly known as Marin Preparatory, about 18 school administrators, board members and parents met at the Mission police station’s community room.
“It’s an ideal location for us to completely redo the building, still keeping the historic footprint,” said Jeff Escabar, head of the school. “We will be beautifying and seismically upgrading the building.”
The principal architect, Douglas Tom of TEF Design, said he intends to replace the roll-up doors of the garage with windows that replicate the “historic windows with mullion,” vertical bars between panes. That would be the main entry to the school, and a secondary entry and security exit would be added along Albion Street.
The first floor would be composed of the kindergarten, first and second grade classrooms, as well as flexible spaces that could be converted into offices, conferences and study rooms — depending on how the school chooses to use that area.
At a little over 2,000 square feet, the multipurpose room, or Great Hall, as Tom called it, would live up to its name as a multi-use room.
“Envision a movable wall — an acoustically-rated wall — so you can divide the room into one-third or two-thirds,” said Tom. “For example, you could have lunch served here, have a wall closed, and still be able to look for the kids running around playing basketball.”
As the school does not serve hot lunches, but rather caters lunches to the students, a catering kitchen would be incorporated.
Tom presented alternative design layouts that included a lunch and play area, basketball courts and a performance option.
“This could be a foldable stage with seating for at least 150 kids or families,” he said. “There’s definitely an option for a large gathering space.”
Upstairs, a series of classrooms for the remaining grade levels would be constructed. Tom noted that the sixth through eighth grade classrooms would break out into subject groups, including humanities, science, art and music.
“And then we would have an open area in the middle that we’re envisioning as a study area primarily for the middle school kids,” he said.
The bulk of the meeting was taken up with internal details such as these. No attendee asked what may be the overriding question regarding this school’s future: will this neighborhood and its community members consent to an elite school along the 16th Street corridor with tuition that reaches $30,000 annually?
That will be for another meeting.
The industrial building at 3140 16th St. has yet to be purchased by the K-8 school. It was previously sold five years ago for $8.7 million to Manouch Moshayedi, the head of the family-owned real estate development firm MX3 Ventures.
“We’re hoping to bring our students and families into the Mission Dolores neighborhood to really enrich the kids’ lives in terms of culture and learning as much as we can,” Escabar said.