The historic facade of the Superior Automotive auto garage at 3140 16th St. Photo by Lola M. Chavez

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.

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  1. This place has been sitting empty for more than a 1/2 decade. Six years ago, the plan was to develop a five-story building with up to 25 condos and 8,000 square feet of retail. Made infeasible by the powers that be. 2.5 years ago, the plan was to convert the space to a restaurant and 20,000 sq foot event space. Made infeasible by the powers that be. Fast forward to 2019, and an immersion school proposes a new school on site. With loud grumblings already from MEDA and Calle 24 and their allies on the Board, it’s more than likely that this idea will be shot down as well.

    And when the building has been sitting empty for a decade, and another enterprising group comes along with a proposal, guess what? We’ll here the same obstructionist rhetoric from the usual suspects and that building will continue to sit empty. What, pray-tell, is MEDA / C24’s viable solution to start using this building again? If there’s no answer, then let someone who can get it done take over and quit obstructing every idea that crops up.

    1. Pat, the goal is an empty building as it helps slow down the gentrification process. In addition, we don’t want to displace the sidewalk vendors where you can buy old cassette tapes, random silverware, and other various nick knacks. Get with the program already!

  2. Marin Preparatory (future name Spanish Infusion School?) seems to be owned by Bright Horizons, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
    From an internet search: Bright Horizons (NYSE:BFAM) operates 1000+ child care and early education centers around The United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, The Netherlands, and India making it the largest child care provider in the world, and the only publicly traded one.Jun 5, 2017
    Also: The company operates globally by providing child care for more than 850 corporate clients around the world. … Bain Capital acquired Bright Horizon Family Solutions in 2008 for $1.3 billion and launched an IPO in January 2013, making it a publicly traded company.Sep 1, 2014
    If these kids attended a Mission District public school, it could infuse parent resources into PTAs & the classroom.

  3. Usually I hear the term, “Spanish immersion school” ? But I suppose infusion could be a thing too.

    But then I was also already confused about a Marin prep school being located in SF Mission.

  4. Man – that is quite the cultural pivot.
    Exclusive Marin catered white bread preparatory school getting your child ready for Stanford.
    Su hijo puede pedir un burrito en español al otro lado de la calle!
    All without a hint of irony.