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Dear Foster City Community Members,Demolition Day - New Foster City School

I am happy to report that pre-demolition activity has started on the former Charter Square Shopping Center site.  This is a major step in fulfilling the commitment to the voters in the San Mateo-Foster City School District who voted yes on Measure X to build facilities for increased enrollments that have occurred in the three elementary schools in Foster City over the past decade.

State, City and regional approvals necessary to construct a school were obtained last year.  Cost estimates have been provided along the way, which reflect the escalating costs of construction in the Bay Area.  After each cost estimate, the District worked with Westlake Urban and the architect to identify and make reductions in the project to meet the District’s budget for the new school.    

In October, Westlake Urban offered the District the option (not available previously) to make a direct purchase of the property including demolition, soils remediation and site grading.  The Board of Trustees approved this option in November.

Demolition work is expected to last 3-4 months depending on weather conditions.  Once the demolition, remediation, and grading are complete, the District will receive title to the property for the original agreed upon price of $30.1 million plus the cost of the work done to date including the design of the school, technical studies, State, regional and local approvals, and the site demolition, remediation and grading. 

The District is now preparing to issue a notice to receive bids in May for the construction of the school.  Pre-qualification of prospective general contractors and primary subcontractors is underway to develop a pool of eligible bidders. For more information about the prequalification process, go to Partnering with SMFCSD - Pre-qualification for Construction Projects page.

If the lowest, responsive and responsible bid received is within the District’s approved revised budget, then construction is expected to start this summer with the school ready for occupancy during the 2020-21 school year.  Based on recent favorable bids on other Measure X Phase I projects, we are very hopeful that the journey to a new elementary school in Foster City will become a reality.

Look for more information and photos of the demolition work on our New Elementary School in Foster City page.

Joan Rosas, Ed.D.


Dear San Mateo-Foster City School District Community,

I am writing to update you about a decision that the Board of Trustees made in regard to the new school in Foster City.

The San Mateo–Foster City School District made a commitment to the voters who passed Measure X to fund facilities projects to accommodate increased and increasing enrollments throughout the District utilizing bond funding and other limited facilities resources.  Westlake Urban and the District have worked together diligently to design a new elementary school in Foster City.  The design for this developer-built school has been well received by parents, staff and the Foster City community.

Unfortunately, the continued costly construction environment, especially in the Bay Area, and the uncertainty of further cost increases due to fires, demand for labor, and the impact of new tariffs have created a challenging situation for construction projects in general.  At this time, Westlake Urban and the District have been unable to agree on terms that would limit the District's exposure to further cost increases. 

Westlake Urban has recognized the impact of cost escalations and has recently offered the District an option to purchase the property only.  At the November 15, 2018 Board meeting, the Board of Trustees unanimously elected to move forward with the option of the land purchase only.  This option means that the District will acquire the property together with the design and all construction documents.  In addition, the State and other approvals have been obtained and the documentation for the District to bid the project are in process.  Westlake Urban will move forward with the demolition of the vacant shopping center, complete agreed upon soils mitigations and grade the site.  The cost of this option includes the original purchase price for the land, all work completed to date and the cost of work to be completed by Westlake Urban.

Westlake Urban will complete the demolition and grading of the site after which the District will take title to the property and the District will begin to advertise for bids for the new school project.  If financial parameters are met, the District expects to award a construction contract early in the new year.

Joan Rosas, Ed.D.


I am writing to provide information on the progress being made on the new elementary school in Foster City.  For those who are unfamiliar with the project, establishing a fourth elementary school in Foster City was part of a commitment made to the voters when they passed the Measure X school facilities bond to provide the additional facilities needed in the San Mateo-Foster City School District for increased and increasing enrollments.  The new school in Foster City is one of eight projects funded by Measure X and other funds for facilities--four of which comprise Phase I of Measure X.  The preliminary planning stages for the four Phase II projects will begin later this school year.

Budgets have continued to challenge each of the Measure X Phase I projects.  Costs have increased during the last three years due to a rapidly changing construction environment and a strong local economy.  There continues to be an ever-increasing number of construction projects in the Bay Area as well as additional ones being planned due to the devastating effects of major fires throughout California and hurricanes and floods throughout the United States in the last eighteen months.  All of these have resulted in increased demand for labor and materials which have been accompanied by increased wages and materials costs (some due to shortages, others due to tariff increases).  With this constantly changing cost environment, the architects for all four Phase I projects and the District’s Board of Trustees and staff have devoted significant amounts of time at various stages in the design process for each project to understand increases in cost estimates done by cost estimators and to make changes in the projects to reduce costs while maintaining the design and operational principles that have guided the new school in Foster City and the other Measure X Phase I projects. 

The Board of Trustees has been working hard to achieve the goal of a new school in Foster City despite this very challenging cost environment.  To continue to move forward, the site for the new school was fenced in the spring so that the asbestos in the building materials of the previous shopping center could be removed and additional pre-construction testing could be done.  The Board of Trustees has twice made adjustments to the original budget for the school by designating other limited facilities funding.  The most recent budget adjustments were made on June 30, 2018.  A Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Foster City-- the subject of several months of discussion between the City and District staff and elected representatives as well as attorneys-- was agreed to by the City and School District in June also. 

Since then, the District held a Community Meeting on July 24, 2018 to review the construction timeline, changes in design necessitated by the increased budget, the hours of construction and other related items, and introduction of the key contact people during the demolition/grading and construction phases.  Unfortunately, the planned cut off and removal of utilities originally scheduled for August was changed by PG&E to the end of September because of the staffing it needed to re-deploy to the fires in northern California in August.  Currently, the District is awaiting the developer’s final project costs for the new school to approve the beginning of demolition, grading and construction.   

Below is a full timeline of Major Milestones for the New School in Foster City project completed to date and the milestones ahead. 

Joan Rosas, Ed.D.

Major Milestones & Dates As of October 19, 2018


  • School Conveyance Agreement (SCA) Signed - November 2016
  • First of 13 Community Meetings Started - November 2016
  • California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Analysis Begun - Spring 2017
  • City of Foster City Convenes Ad Hoc Committee - May 2017
  • Education Specifications Work Completed - June 2017
  • Conceptual Design Completed/DSA Drawings Begun - Summer 2017
  • SCA Amendment 1 Approval - September 2017
  • Division of State Architect (DSA) Submission - November 2017
  • California Geologic Survey Approval - December 2017
  • Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Preliminary Environmental Assessment (PEA) Submitted - December 2017
  • Environmental Impact Report (CEQA) Certified by the Board - January 2018
  • Applications for Site Approval and Project Approval Submitted to the California Department of Education - January-February 2018
  • DTSC Approval of PEA and development of Removal Action Workplan begun - February 2018
  • Asbestos Removal Completed - May 2018
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Foster City and SMFCSD approved - June 2018
  • California Department of Education Approval of School and Site Applications - July 2018
  • Community Meeting on Construction Activities, Schedule and Contacts Held - July 2018
  • Division of State Architects (DSA) Approval - August 2018
  • Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Approval of the Removal Action Workplan (RAW) - August 2018
  • Additional Testing for DTSC Completed - August-September 2018
  • PG&E Power turn-off/removal Completed - September - October 2018

Looking Ahead

  • Approval of Amendment to School Conveyance Agreement SCA - October 2018
  • Revised/updated Costs Based on Subcontractor Bids - November 2018
  • District Review of Final Project Costs Based on Bids - November 2018
  • Site Demolition Nov 2018 - Jan 2019
  • Beginning of Implementation of approved DTSC Removal Action Plan (RAW) - December 2018
  • Beginning of Grading of Site - February 2019*
  • Beginning of Foundation Work - March 2019*
  • Interval Testing per the DTSC Removal Action Plan - 30 days for months to a year
  • Anticipated Completion of Construction - June-July 2020*
  • Certification of Occupancy - July 2020
  • Planned Occupancy 2020-21 - School Year

July 2018 Board Presentation

Click here to view the Presentation from the July 24, 2018 Community Meeting

New FC School ImageNew School in Foster City Rendering

July 2018 Measure X Update

The new facilities projects at Abbott, Bayside and Borel Middle Schools and the new elementary school in Foster City will enter a much-anticipated stage of actual construction in 2018.  Reaching this point has come after months of school and community input about location and design and careful work by the architects and engineers charged with designing the new facilities.

These four projects comprise Phase I of Measure X passed by Foster City and San Mateo voters in November 2015 to provide classrooms and other needed facilities for current and projected increases in student enrollment.  The four Phase I projects are:


Once detailed construction documents are completed for each of these projects, they are submitted to California’s Division of State Architect (DSA) for review and approval.  The estimated time between submission and approval is six months.

The Phase I projects are experiencing a very competitive construction environment.  All new projects, regardless of whether they are publicly or privately owned and financed, have experienced cost increases.  The District’s four projects are no exception and the District’s Board of Trustees has had several discussions over the last year about cost increases and how to reduce the costs of the projects while providing the needed facilities and keeping the District’s commitment to the voters for all eight of the Measure X projects.  These discussions and decisions will continue through the bidding process for the projects. 

Planning will begin in 2019 for Phase II of Measure X which includes projects for:


  • Adding classrooms and replacing the administration/support services building at Bowditch Middle School in Foster City
  • Adding classrooms and new multipurpose rooms to George Hall and Sunnybrae Elementary Schools in San Mateo
  • Building a new elementary neighborhood school on the College Park/Turnbull Children’s Center campus

The most current information about our Measure X projects can be found on our Measure X Overview page.  Please check back frequently to monitor our progress. 

Joan Rosas, Ed.D.

Project Background

We are pleased to announce that on Thursday, November 3, 2016 the School Board of Trustees unanimously approved an agreement to purchase a fourth elementary school in Foster City on the Charter Square Shopping Center site.

Community members clearly expressed their desire to see an additional elementary school built in Foster City by supporting the Measure X facilities bond, which passed last November.  The District’s acquisition of a fourth school will provide additional classroom space to address anticipated increased enrollment at the District’s existing Foster City school campuses.  The new campus site is located on the corner of Beach Park and Shell Boulevards – a prime location to add an elementary school.

In February 2016 the District sold bonds to begin its Measure X Phase I construction projects.  Phase I projects included the acquisition of land and the building of an elementary school in Foster City and the construction of new gyms and classrooms at Abbott and Borel Middle Schools and a new gym at the Bayside STEM Academy.

We appreciate the generous support of our community and are excited to move on to the next stage of planning and engagement for the design of the new school.

If you have additional questions about the school or construction, please send an email to