After more than 55 years of renting in Portola Valley, Windmill School, a nonprofit preschool, has become a property owner. The school has completed its purchase of 900 Portola Road, the 1.68-acre former site of Al's Nursery.
"I am delighted to announce that Windmill has secured a long-term home, safeguarding the future of this vital community asset," said Liz Poggi, the Windmill board president, in an April 27 announcement. "Countless dedicated volunteers have made this possible, and on behalf of the School, its children, families and alumni, I want to express our sincerest thanks."
Plans for the site include enough classrooms for morning classes for all preschool age groups as well as enrichment courses in art, music, language and science for both preschool and elementary school age children, the school said. There are plans for a learning nursery, a barn and spaces to accommodate gatherings.
Windmill has been renting space at the Alpine Hills Tennis & Swimming Club at 4141 Alpine Road since the late 1970s, but must vacate by August 2017, the school said.
The school community has been fundraising, gathering $3 million for the purchase of the property and working toward $3.5 million for construction of the Windmill Family Education Center, according to Windmill board member Karen Tate.
"We are incredibly appreciative of those donors that had the faith and vision to invest in this project prior to even having a property," Ms. Tate said in an email.
The new site, located between Our Lady of the Wayside Church and the Village Square shopping center, was at the center of a controversy in late 2012 when the Portola Valley Town Council almost bought it as a potential location for small homes affordable to people of moderate incomes.
The council allowed the contract to expire after county officials declared an earlier clean-up of contaminated soil at the site to be inadequate.
Windmill School has grouped donors by names of trees according to the size of their gifts.
Coast Redwood: Donors who gave $500,000 or more are Amy and Bill Gurley.
Valley Oak: -- Donors who gave $250,000 or more are Sue and Kurt Jaggers, Laure Woods, and Dave Kastanis.
Big Leaf Maple: Donors who gave $100,000 or more are Anonymous A, Amy and Roger Bamford, Mark Gainey and Lisa Gainey, and Hilary and Josh Harmssen/The Joy Family
Buckeye: Donors who gave $50,000 or more are Heather and Dean Asborno/Alain Pinel, Wendy and Tim Mcadam/Sally And Noel Fenton.
Madrone: Donors who gave $25,000 or more are Mieke and Andrew Barrows, Marilyn and Allan Brown, Monika and Rob Cheney, Tammy and Bill Crown, Liz and Paul Cushman, Susan Ford Dorsey and Michael Dorsey, Gloria and Ross Edwards, Renata and Taylor Hinshaw, Becky Long and Ken Hirsh, Yasmin Besik and Gil Kliman, Karen Tate and Charlie Krenz, Nancy and Tor Lund, Susan and Robert Morse, Liz Poggi and Scott Murphy, and Jocelynn and Jeff Staley.