For some — notably students at Fairmeadow Elementary School and JLS and Jordan middle schools who have endured noise, dust, temporary classrooms and campus detours — the long construction process will be complete, or nearly so.
For others, particularly students at Duveneck Elementary School, which is embarking on three new classroom buildings, the disruptions have just begun. They're not expected to be done until next summer.
Nearly all the construction has been funded by a $378 million "Strong Schools" bond measure, approved in June 2008 by 77.5 percent of voters in the school district. The bond was aimed at modernizing old facilities and expanding capacity to meet growing enrollment.
The most visible results of the bond measure will come this month, though $177 million remains in the "Strong Schools" fund for future projects — including major ones such as a new elementary school and a high school performing-arts center.
"We've never brought this many different projects to fruition at the start of a school year before," said Bob Golton, the district's facilities and bond-program manager.
"I can't predict the future, but it's hard to imagine there'll ever be more."
In addition to a new gym, students at Gunn High School this month will take classes in a new, two-story building for math and English containing 28 classrooms and two labs clustered around an open courtyard.
At Palo Alto High School, a contractor dispute (see sidebar) has delayed the scheduled June 2013 opening of a new Media Arts Center and two-story math and social-studies building, but work continues despite the litigation, and contractors have told the district to plan for occupancy in December.
At both JLS and Fairmeadow, new, two-story classroom buildings will come on line.
Earlier completions under the bond measure include a new, two-story classroom building at Ohlone Elementary School, which opened in 2011, and a new aquatic center at Gunn, which opened in 2010.
The construction process at each campus began with staff-parent-student "site committees," who discussed priorities; architectural planning and review by the Division of State Architect in Sacramento, which by law must approve all public school facilities in a process that can take up to a year.