A new indoor athletic center for Palo Alto High School would be built around the school's existing seven-year-old aquatic center under a "conceptual design" to be presented to the Board of Education tonight, Tuesday, March 12.
The proposed new center -- on an accelerated timetable because of a possible donation of up to $20 million by an anonymous Palo Alto family -- would have a construction start date of June 2014 and planned occupancy by August 2015.
Plans show a "new main gym" and a "new small gym" on either side of the pool, with the two gyms connected on one side by an "enclosed loggia" evoking the loggia that now connects Paly's Tower Building with Haymarket Theatre.
In addition to the gyms, the new center would provide a new wrestling/multi-purpose room, pool locker rooms and a new dance and yoga room.
"The primary source of funding for this project will be a major contribution from a donor," the district's bond program manager Bob Golton said in a report to the board.
"This amount will be supplemented by the $5.47 million in the Paly master plan designated for a new weight room and fitness center on campus.
The school board tonight will hear an architect's presentation of the design and, at a future meeting, will be asked to approve that design as well as a proposed "lease-leaseback" arrangement. Golton described the scheme as authorized under the Education Code and an increasingly "common alternative to competitive bidding in school districts statewide because it enables districts to select contractors who have performed well in the past."
In other business tonight, the board will discuss a proposed policy on students seeking coverage under Section 504 of the 1973 federal Rehabilitation Act, which mandates "free and appropriate public education" to students with disabilities.
The proposed new policy is in response to a recommendation from the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights that the district clarify its 504 policy. That Office for Civil Rights recommendation came in a second case, involving Palo Alto and a student with disabilities.
Superintendent Kevin Skelly had intended also tonight to propose a new board policy on bullying, but that item was pulled from the agenda at the last minute.
"While I am disappointed we aren't able to bring forward the bullying board policy, it is best to take this complicated work forward when there are as few loose ends as possible," Skelly told the board in a March 8 email.
"We still have the 504 process board policy to approve, but this is very straightforward, uncontroversial and has been reviewed by legal counsel."
Also tonight, the board will be asked to approve a budget update and award a $7 million contract for new construction and modernization at Duveneck Elementary School.
Following a 5:30 p.m. closed session to discuss labor negotiations, discipline and legal matters, the board will convene in public session at 6:30 p.m. in the boardroom of school district headquarters, 25 Churchill Ave.