Private high school Palo Alto Prep might need a new name, following a move from Cubberley Community Center in south Palo Alto to a new location in Mountain View.
The school, which starts its new year Aug. 29, occupied roughly 4,000 square feet at Cubberley. Its new facility at 2462 Wyandotte St. boasts 11,000 square feet -- enough room to comfortably accommodate the school's current student body of 60 teens and allow it room to grow.
Palo Alto Prep students are typically those with the educational talent to go to college but who did not fit into the local high schools' college tracks, Dean of Students Lisa O'Hearn-Keck said.
"The kids that go to school here are kids that in mainstream environment, in a large class size, would probably get grades a level below what they would get with small class size," O'Hearn-Keck said.
Small classes are the school's calling card, with five to eight students in each class on average. Palo Alto Prep also offers learning outside the classroom environment, including several trips around the country and one international trip each year.
Tuition at Palo Alto Prep hovers around $25,000 a year which includes the trips, with the exception of overnight stays, according to Palo Alto Prep founder and director Chris Keck.
Keck said he hopes the move will help bring reality closer to his vision for the school. The director said he felt restricted at Cubberley.
"(Cubberley) opened in the '50s, then closed in the '70s. We moved in shortly after that, and it was tired then," Keck said. "Then in the last 25 years it's gotten real sleepy."
School officials found an unusual source to furnish their Mountain View building: Roche Pharmaceutical. The company's acquisition of Genentech, and subsequent departure from Palo Alto, turned out to be a gold mine for the school.
"Everything you see here is from Roche," Keck said recently, waving his hand around the bright new facility. Keck pointed to the doors, explaining that they are fireproof. "We don't need them, but we got them for free."
The gleaming chemistry classroom bristles with the latest technology and speaks to the equipments' origins.
The high school also uses technology to keep parents in the loop on how their students are performing. Parents receive weekly report cards, and teachers post all assignments on the Internet so parents can take a look for themselves.
As students launch the academic year in their new facility, it appears one thing will remain the same: Keck hasn't indicated a name change is coming for the Mountain View school.