Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 8, 2011

Major construction to greet high school students

Long-planned projects will sprout on a half-dozen campuses this fall

by Chris Kenrick

Construction projects will be underway when Palo Alto's high school students return to their campuses this fall.

August groundbreakings are likely for new, two-story classroom buildings on both campuses as well as for a new media arts center at Palo Alto High School and a new gymnasium and a second, single-story classroom building at Gunn.

For Gunn students, an added bonus may offset the inconvenience of construction: Newly installed air-conditioning will blow cool air in old classrooms that students have long complained were stifling.

Throughout Palo Alto's 17 public school campuses, projects that have been on the drawing boards since the passage of a $378 million facilities bond measure in 2008 are finally coming to fruition.

The high school project price tags — $37.8 million for Gunn and $37 million for Paly — represent the largest yet under the bond measure, which was backed by 77.5 percent of district voters.

The stated goal was to "expand, upgrade and improve" campuses to extend their useful lives and accommodate enrollment growth.

Gunn and Paly are being prepared for capacities of 2,350 each (current enrollment is 1,879 at Gunn and 1,860 at Paly).

JLS and Jordan middle schools are being expanded to accommodate 1,100 students each (current headcount at JLS is 1,007 and at Jordan 983). Terman is slated to remain stable at 675.

At the fast-growing elementary level, up to 40 classrooms are being added city-wide to make room for a possible 900 additional students in the next five years.

Beyond the projects at Paly and Gunn, the coming school year will see major activity on the following campuses:

At Ohlone Elementary School, a new, two-story building with 12 classrooms — under construction since last fall — will be ready for occupancy by winter break.

At Terman Middle School, a late fall groundbreaking is likely for renovations that include a complete remodeling of the administration and library wing as well as the cafetorium food area; the addition of a drama classroom and miscellaneous classroom improvements.

At Jordan, JLS and Fairmeadow Elementary School, groundbreaking is likely shortly after the December holidays for various projects.

At Jordan, that includes a new, six-classroom wing paralleling the science wing now visible from Middlefield Road, as well as a new cafetorium that will be connected to the old cafetorium. The old cafetorium space will be reconfigured for music classrooms.

At JLS, a new, two-story building will contain 10 classrooms, with a new courtyard and amphitheater.

Construction at Fairmeadow will include a new two-story classroom building as well as relocation of kindergartners — and their play area — from classrooms facing East Meadow Drive to a wing next to the library.

Future rounds of construction will include a new, state-of-the-art performing arts center at Paly as well as a new, two-story classroom building at Duveneck.

Staff Writer Chris Kenrick can be emailed at ckenrick@paweekly.com.

Comments

There are no comments yet for this post

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields