School officials last week disclosed several last-minute changes in plans as Palo Alto High School prepares to embark on two new major construction projects.
Cost estimates also have increased for the new athletic center that will replace the gyms, bringing the school district's share from $5.47 million to an estimated $12.57 million. The bulk of the $20 million-plus new, two-gym athletic center is being donated by the Peery family, which has sent three generations to Paly.
Superintendent Kevin Skelly disclosed the change of plans in his May 30 Weekly Memo, and the gym project will be up for discussion by the Board of Education June 17.
Completion date for the new athletic center is now projected for March 2016, Skelly said. He attributed the hold-up to questions and clarifications over plans that arose from the Division of the State Architect in Sacramento, which must approve architectural plans for all public school buildings.
In another development, cost estimates for Paly's Performing Arts Center also soon to break ground went up nearly $5 million, bringing the project's total budget to $29.37 million.
The state-of-the-art performance center, to rise on the Embarcadero Road edge of campus, will include a 583-seat theater, a lobby with restrooms, tickets, concessions and a gallery area as well as classroom and storage space.
The school board Tuesday unanimously approved the budget increase, authorizing the funds to come from two other Paly projects Tower Building upgrades and Career Technical Education projects. Districtwide construction manager Tom Hodges told the board the trade-offs were approved by a Paly site committee, including parents, students and staff, overseeing campus construction.
Officials attributed the cost increase to rising competition for construction workers in the area as well as costs associated with a new legal requirement that all mechanical, electrical and plumbing subcontractors be prequalified.
Hodges whose firm's $1.1 million contract for 2014-15 also was discussed by the board Tuesday expressed the hope that funds still will be available to modernize restrooms and install an elevator in the Tower Building.
Two other major building projects at Paly recently were completed: a two-story, 27-classroom building for the math and social sciences departments and a two-story, 23,000-square-foot Media Arts Building.
The Paly construction, as well as new construction and upgrades across the school district's 17 campuses, is being funded by the $378 million "Strong Schools" bond approved by voters in 2008.
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