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Price tag for new Paly athletic center: $36 million to $40 million

Original post made on Jun 13, 2014

The price tag for Palo Alto High School's new athletic facility — for which groundbreaking is slated this fall — will be between $36.1 and $40.4 million, according to newly released estimates from the school district.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, June 13, 2014, 12:00 AM

Comments (81)

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Posted by Sports FTW
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Jun 13, 2014 at 10:00 am

Okay, I'll bite. It seems sad to me that we are putting this level of investment into sports facilities, while so many other areas are short of funds.


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Posted by Enouigh
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 13, 2014 at 10:45 am

Seems sad to me that so much is being spent when Paly had the coolest gym in the area. Just needed updating, not to be destroyed like every other building left over from a Palo Alto era gone by.


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Posted by Jim H.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 13, 2014 at 11:19 am

Typical government project. Get approval and public buy in at one price and then jack up the price. The gym project hasn't even started and the cost to the district has more than doubled. In addition, the cost of the theater has already grown 20%.

These increases are already costing over $12M and they haven't even started demolition. Does anyone think the costs won't continue to build?

Who is driving the changes from a "less simple" design?


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Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 13, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Thank you, Peery family, for your generosity. We appreciate your contributions to so many projects in Palo Alto.


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Posted by Antibigotry
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 13, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Here's one contribution from the Peery family I won't be praising: their leading financial role in passing Proposition 8 to deny marriage equality to their gay neighbours. As one of those neighbors, I world personally rather have a taxpayer funded facility than celebrate this particular donor.


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Posted by resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 13, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Seems we value athleticism over academic or vocational pursuits in our schools. Well, you get what you pay for.


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Posted by Thank you Peery Family
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jun 13, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Unbelievable to me that people would look askance in any way at a $24 Million no-strings-attached gift to the city. We are incredibly fortunate to have the Peery family step up in this way. The moderate contribution of the school district represents just a fraction of the overall value that will be created for our children. And for those saying they would rather have the "taxpayers" pay for it--- feel free to volunteer your own money but don't spend my money that you didn't earn. Thankfully there are still generous families like the Peerys that are using their good fortune in a way that benefits our community


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Posted by Antibigotry
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 13, 2014 at 5:17 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 13, 2014 at 5:25 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by a real parent
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 13, 2014 at 7:06 pm

To the Peery sycophant:

A tripling of the original stated price is not trivial. [Portion removed.] And that's before the project has even started.

An expensive athletic facility at a high school generates value for a very, very, very few students. For all the other students, a good education is the best value, therefore that's the best place for the district to put money.


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Posted by badplans
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jun 13, 2014 at 11:33 pm

Bad plans.

Contractors provide low bids by finding errors, and then they jack up the price through change order requests.

The District should use a Plan Check firm to audit the plans before they are made available for bidding.

And, once again, the money allocated through bonds for school buildings can not be used for general school funds, like teachers and programs.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2014 at 11:36 pm

> And, once again, the money allocated through bonds for school
> buildings can not be used for general school funds, like
> teachers and programs.

And your point is?


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Posted by Can't afford pound foolish
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2014 at 3:03 am

I appreciate the Peery Family's generosity, but the district's portion is way too high, and the project should be sent back to the drawing board to shave $10 or 12 or even 15 million from the price tag. Surely we can build something nice for that - how much did the new gym at Gunn cost?

If we didn't have other far more basic needs in the district, where the answer is always "where will the money come from" then I would say, Have at it. But we really do have a long list of more fundamental priorities that could be covered by that money.

Skelly is on his way out. It's like he's trying to remind us what a poor job of prioritizing he did on the construction. What could that $16 million do to put some of Cubberly back in service? (Especially if the district hadn't shoo'd away Foothill and their $40million).


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Posted by Can't afford pound foolish
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2014 at 3:06 am

Wait ... This was supposed to be a no strings attached gift. The district pitching in funds is a big string. how about we get rewarded for better fiscal stewardship and providing essentially the same for less money?

When is the last time our construction was reviewed or audited?


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 14, 2014 at 8:13 am

PAUSD had more to do with the cost increases than the donors. Design changes and upgrades. Insisting that the Loggio has a full basement that connects to both gyms and the sub-levels within for example.

Not that it matters, but PAUSD spent far more money on the new Gunn Gym and old gym update. Fine with me actually...it's a beautiful facility.


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 14, 2014 at 8:22 am

The no strings still,applies actually. PAUSD had planned to spend almost $5.5mil. on gym refurbishment before the donation was ever conceived. And the original donation was $20mil.....now $24mil.

The comment about a subset of students...perhaps. However all students must take two years of PE. Add on that they use the gyms for non-athletic events or,gatherings. Also consider that the community will be able to rent the gyms as well.


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Posted by Drinking the Kool-Aid
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2014 at 8:53 am

Paly never needed this level of a gym nor did the community. The donation was designed to take our minds off the seven years of Kevin Skelly and the eight years of Barb Mitchelll. This will be the gift that keeps on giving. Maintenance and it's costs, both daily and seasonal, will be significant and that will require an increase in the parcel tax and bonds, not to directly pay for it, but to offset the costs from the general fund. [Portion removed.] If you don't like the leadership, the 2014 elections are coming soon. None of this has to do about kids.


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Posted by Smells fishy
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 14, 2014 at 9:39 am

Sounds like our last kitchen remodel: winning bid was for $20,000, after demo was amended to $30,000, upon completion the cost was $50,000--more than double the original bid.

Can't trust a low bid, it is like a teaser rate.


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Posted by wow
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jun 14, 2014 at 11:06 am

[Post removed.]


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Posted by former PALY parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 14, 2014 at 11:24 am

Generally speaking, relying periodically on [portion removed] donors isn't the way to finance school building projects. The school district should have a reasonable building schedule and budget for that. However, I know, I know, they spend on misc. OTHER stuff and then when the roofs are leaking or the facilities are derelict, THEN they either raise our property tax payments or get lucky with bigtime donors. Odd way to run a high budget public school district.
I also agree that ultra-luxury gym facilities benefit the few (those students/parents aiming for full-ride scholarship to elite universities). For the rest of us, periodically updated/remodeled and re-built athletic facilities are certainly sufficient. We found PALY to have an over-emphasis on the importance of team sports. That's just the way it is, and we should have known better - that is what they prioritize historically there.


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Posted by Peery Supported Prop 8
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jun 14, 2014 at 11:37 am

A public school district in the state of California should not accept money from someone who supported and donated to Prop 8 in the first place. [Portion removed.]

Stand up for something that matters. The dollars are not the point.


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Posted by PAUSD Parent
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 14, 2014 at 11:42 am

This project is excessive but it does tie in with Paly's overemphasis on athletics in relations to other schools. Outside of private schools, it is rare to find another high school with such an emphasis on athletics. But it only reflects what the Paly community wants and if the money gets ponied up, it's hard to say no to it. It does feel like "Friday Night Lights" but at least there is academic learning going on unlike how it is in Texas.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2014 at 11:45 am

> The school district should have a reasonable building schedule
> and budget for that.

The massive Measure A bond authorization of $375M of only a few years ago (on top of the previous $100M bond of the mid-'90s) has provided the PAUSD with more money than it needs for construction. It is amazing how many people posting on school district affairs seem ignorant of the funding realities of this district.

What good is public education when people are clueless about where money comes from, or goes to, regarding the funding of public education?


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Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2014 at 12:00 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Progressive dem
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 14, 2014 at 12:06 pm

I stand with my gay neighbor (antibigotry) on this one. It's sad that our community is so willing to overlook anti-gay prejudice for some cash. Would we accept money from someone who advocated for anti-miscegenation laws? My son was telling me about a new Social Justice course at Paly that is starting up. Maybe this can be their first case study.


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Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2014 at 12:14 pm

This thread is about Paly and the gym. Whatever the political or religious views of the donor is irrelevant to any discussion. Provided the donation was to a legal cause, then it has absolutely nothing to do with this thread.

Editors, please take note.


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Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2014 at 12:34 pm

The following is part of on of my posts made on March 2013, on the link I listed above - Web Link

"...
@ isez, a member of the Palo Alto High School community - you raise an interesting question that was addressed here in variant ways. Does a legal action make it right? Trying to show my point, going to the edge - Would should a Boston school do during the Civil war, should a Southern wealthy, famous Citizen, supporting slavery in southern state, legal, then, would have donated $ to that Boston school for whatever the school choose to do?
And generally speaking -
Where have all the teachers gone? Long time passing...
..."

That thread was restricted. And others. Many of my posts disappeared.
As far as I recall it is about an education system.


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Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2014 at 12:56 pm

And if he had supported pot dispensaries in Palo Alto, HSR, or building the senior housing on Maybell, or against the library bond would that have made a difference? These were all legal votes too. Whether people supported or disagreed with any of these issues is equally moot.

No, if we have legal votes on the ballot then people can legally support and donate to the cause. Just because others may have different opinions on a legal issue that you disagree with, it does not mean that you have the right to bring their opinions into a community issue. As this thread is about a high school gym which could be classed as about education and about sport, then that is all that matters.


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Posted by Palo Verde Parent
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 14, 2014 at 1:11 pm

This seems like an excessive amount of money for a Gym complex at a public high school. The price tag for the new Gym at Gunn was 12.9 mil. This was built because Gunn did not have a 2nd Gym but Paly did and one stated goal of the district is "Progressive Parity". It does seem that by building this Gym complex the district leaves it self open to the Gunn community asking for a comparable facility. I don't really understand why the district cannot create a wonderful complex that costs just the 24 million that is being donated.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2014 at 1:52 pm

If PAUSD insists on this $40M gym, it has to kill the Theater project. Combined is too much for PAUSD to spend on Paly luxuries.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Buildings grow old, haven't stepped foot in the Paly Gym but have seen the building. Prices do rise, the cost of construction per square foot has gone up since it was built, sad to see the price have risen.

This is not the only California wanted to center everything on athletics, nice fields, basketball gym, pools by the way, theatre, music is important too.

I hope Paly, Gunn and that third high school get goodies for every student.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Suffered mid mind change to sentence without ediing. Paly is not the only California high school wanting to center on athletics.


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Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2014 at 10:14 pm

@Paly parent-
You wrote:"...As this thread is about a high school gym which could be classed as about education and about sport, then that is all that matters."

I guess we can agree to disagree as to the definition of - education.


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Posted by iSez
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 15, 2014 at 12:01 am

iSez is a registered user.

Here's my posting that "village fool" was replying to:

Posted by isez, a resident of Palo Alto High School on Mar 24, 2013

It's showing lack of gratitude to the Peerys that the Prop 8 issue was mentioned. If the gift were from Bernie Madoff (with stolen money) then there should be an issue about receipt of the gift. The Peery's political and religious beliefs should be of no concern to the acceptance of the gift. As the gay student asks for lack of prejudice, the public should not show prejudice against the Peerys for their beliefs.


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Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Jun 15, 2014 at 12:23 am

Thank you, iSez.
The issue was always about the ability to have a discussion. Some issues were "traditionally" silenced. Restricting threads relating to kids @PAUSD always had flood of comments stop. I found that very telling, and not disconnected from fear of retaliation which was not admitted until about year ago.
Again - thank you!


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Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 15, 2014 at 11:22 am

This gym contributes almost nothing to Paly and the community at large. If anything, it highlights the intense competitive nature of our community, and makes the kids who aren't as athletically gifted and are not jocks by nature, feel left out. We put way too much emphasis on competitive sports in our schools. Even with the large contribution of this family, the districts needs to spend a greta deal of money on this facility, completely unnecessarily.

I also completely disagree that the family's religious and political views are irrelevant. They help finance a political campaign that sought to take away existing rights from other people and discriminate against them based on sexual orientation. [Portion removed.]


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Posted by Paly Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 15, 2014 at 2:29 pm

I attended Back-to-School Night and sat in a desk that was there since I graduated in the early 80s. Perhaps there should be some booster for new desks, as they are a mismatched mess of all different styles.


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Posted by October
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 15, 2014 at 2:55 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 15, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Boscoli...when was the last time you were at Paly and monitored gym usage? Both gyms are used all day everyday for PE, dance classes, meetings, school events, athletics. The gyms are also rented out to community groups (both athletic and non-athletic) year-round. In the summer, both gyms are rented out for summer camps.

No offense, but you are just plain wrong in your opinion that the gyms "contribute nothing to Paly and the community."

I disagreed with the Peery family and their stance on prop 8. However I find it ironic that so many people in this region get so high and mighty about preaching tolerance...until it is someone who doesn't share the same POV as themselves.


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Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 16, 2014 at 7:24 am

CPD, this is not about a different POV, this is about a very wealthy family who used its vast resources to help finance an attempt to deprive other people of existing rights that they themselves enjoy. [Portion removed.]


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2014 at 8:12 am

> The gyms are also rented out to community group

For the most part, the PAUSD gyms for the high schools ate not rented out to groups whose members live in the PAUSD jurisdication. Most of the groups renting these halls are regional, not local.

The problem I see is that the PAUSD does not charge enough money for the rentals, and that money disappears into the general fund, rather than being targeted for special purposes--like maintenance and paying down the hundreds of millions of dollars of bond interest which must be paid by local property owners.

While being able to use the PAUSD name as a part of the advertising for summer camps, and other events, groups that want to use that name need to help pay for the buildings, and their upkeep.


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Posted by PAHS Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 16, 2014 at 10:18 am

The price does seem like overkill, but the value of psyching out the visiting teams is priceless. Thank you, Peerys, for your generous donation.

I believe the football field and lacrosse field were donated too, but unsure of the family's names.


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Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Jun 16, 2014 at 11:08 am

@PAHS Alum -
You wrote: "...but the value of psyching out the visiting teams is priceless. .."
Thank you for providing a glimpse into the athletics state of mind of few, at least.

Outsiders playing against PAHS in the new gym will be viewed as "underdogs", whether athletically justified or not.


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Posted by PAUSD parent
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2014 at 11:18 am

A few years ago my daughter was graduating from Jordan Middle School and a counselor from Paly came to talk to the kids.

Someone asked the question, "what's the difference between Gunn and Paly"?

There was a long pause as the Paly counselor seemed to struggle with the question.

Finally she said, "Gunn is good at academics, Paly is good at athletics."

Need I say more?


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Posted by howlong
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 16, 2014 at 11:46 am

how long before this thread is closed to all but registered users is amazed that this thread is still open to everyone.
trying to get a grip on where the weekly stands on this and that...........


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Posted by howlong
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 16, 2014 at 11:56 am

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Overkill
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 16, 2014 at 12:00 pm

This gym is an overkill and Paly's priorities are out of whack if this will take money away from other projects.


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Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Jun 16, 2014 at 12:10 pm

@howlong - good question. It is hard to know, I guess. Many threads were restricted or locked completely, quickly before. Sample - Web Link I for one did not view that as bashing. It was a discussion about views. The names of those who donate to promote political causes are public knowledge. You have the right to argue about that. The donation for the gym was not anonymous. Last I heard, this is suppose to be a Democracy.


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Posted by Paly Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 16, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Haha, on PAUSD parent's comment: "Gunn is good at academics, Paly is good at athletics."

I should just allow the public to continue to believe the myth, but truthfully, both have good athletic teams and academics. However, the Paly football team has always beat Gunn by far, so much that it was agreed that they won't play against each other because it's always no contest (last game was 48-0). However, the "Little Big Game" is a reunion for the community and its alums, which is nice - it's like cancelling a Stanford/UCB game. Web Link

And Paly is just as rigorous academically as Gunn - they both place well in college acceptances. The school rankings are based upon how many students take AP tests - does that mean the entire school is better academically? Not really.


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Posted by howlong
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 16, 2014 at 12:24 pm

village f, I think the thread controllers think it's o.k. to bash religion (yes, bash) if the people are rich and give to causes. Thread controller, I think, thinks all should be free to marry whoever they want but not all should be free to spend money however they want.
(don't want to do anything here except analyse thread controller but I guess I would say democracy won't hang around if too much is too easily knowable--nor will riches hang around [why be rich if subjected to so much scrutiny?])


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Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Jun 16, 2014 at 12:54 pm

@howlong - I hope we can agree to disagree.

On a very different note - The following was copied from Apr 17th, 2013 PAUSD board minutes. Web Link
Disclaimer - I did not follow up on any of this. I do not know what was the final decision (bidding/no bidding), initial estimates etc.

"...
Golton said this project will be done with a lease lease-back method. There is Ed code that a district
can lease a property to a builder and lease it back. The district leases the property, the lessee
constructs, the building is used by the district, the title to the building vests with the district, and no
bidding is required.
..."


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 16, 2014 at 12:55 pm

I am thankful that the Peery family has donated to Paly. [Portion removed.]

My main point is that such legitimate moral/legal disagreements should not get in the way of much needed donations to our school system. Thank you, Peery family...you are much appreciated.

[Portion removed.] Just say, "thank you".

Go Paly!


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Posted by howlong
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 16, 2014 at 1:02 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by so
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2014 at 1:35 pm

We are paying 26 million for one library and that does not cover the entire cost to occupy.
$16 million for this is a deal. Thank you Peery family.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jun 16, 2014 at 2:16 pm

I met former students who attended both Gunn and Paly which to me had great education, went to college and did well in life.

When I was in high school, gym was being used all the time, school days, adult athletic programs, weekends and summer. School districts aren't in the business of making a profit from active school property.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2014 at 2:44 pm

> School districts aren't in the business of making a profit
> from active school property.

Schools, and the education industry, have become very expensive. Someone has to pay for all of this largese, and often poorly thought through projects.

The idea that schools aren't in the business to make a profit sadly misses the point--that someone has to pay for all of this, and there is no reason that the people using the facilities should not be expected to pay their fair share.

The idea that it's all free has gotten us to the point that the country is easily $200T in debt, with no real end in sight. As painful as it for people in "other communities" to be expected to pay for using facilities in Palo Alto--it's way past time to start sending these people the real bill.

In the case of this new gym, with so much money being contributed by the Perry family, it's a little hard to determine what a fair price for facilties rentals might be. But as hard as the task might be--someone will be able to come up with the right numbers, if they put their thinking caps on.


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 16, 2014 at 6:17 pm

As a former coach, I can tell you that the rental price is essentially set to cover the cost to have the building up and running by the hour --- electricity, etc. Cleaning services, general overhead, sometimes supervision/security, etc.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2014 at 6:50 pm

> As a former coach, I can tell you that the rental price is
> essentially set to cove

Thanks for the information. But it's time to add a cost component to cover construction costs. The idea that people from other communities should be able to use these facilities that might otherwise lie idle is nice, but expecting the people in the PAUSD jurisdiction to have to pay through the nose to build these buildings is no longer acceptable.

The construction costs of these facilities is becoming astronomical. Time for everyone using them to chip in to help pay off the bonds.


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Posted by so
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2014 at 8:07 pm

Bob,

If you own housing, you are getting a benefit from owning housing in a city with a good school system.


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Posted by Can't afford pound foolish
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2014 at 8:17 pm

I would much rather see us take far less money and start a broad range of intramural sports that kids can participate on a much more fun, informal basis. The price tag is ridiculous.


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Posted by Can't afford pound foolish
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2014 at 8:35 pm

I would much rather see us take far less money and start a broad range of intramural sports that kids can participate on a much more fun, informal basis. When I've suggested it, I've been told, Where will the money come from?

When our district was in crisis over MI, offering summer language immersion to all would have appeased most - but Where would the money come from?

Our bond promises any renovated spaces will be literally as good as new. But no one is really holding that standard - costs too much.

When parents asked why the bond money was being spent to expand Gunn and Paly rather than reopening Cubberly ... Well, money didn't grow on trees then, either. Heck, we're about to buy some boats for some lawyers because Barb Mitchell says we can't afford to continue the services for some disabled students that they got in districts before moving here.

Summer school here was great, but why can't we continue it? Funds, of course.

Intramural sports do far more to relieve stress and would be helpful to far more students. We could use more councilors. Full-time school nurses on site. I could go on. I'm not saying don't do the new gym, but do it for the money donated, live within that very generous budget, or don't do it. We have too many other priorities.

The price tag is ridiculous anyway.


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Posted by Peery supported prop 8
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 16, 2014 at 8:59 pm

It is absolutely relevant who is giving the money. [Portion removed.]


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Posted by Mike
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 16, 2014 at 10:11 pm

Why is everyone concern over where this family decides to donate and spend there money. Updated athletics buildings will draw attention to a fledgling athletic program in which fails in comparison to other schools in Bay Area. Last time I checked Palo Alto school district was way better than east Palo Alto and the kids can't even attend Palo Alto highschool.


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Posted by Paly Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 17, 2014 at 12:23 am

@Can't afford pound foolish: The intramural sports subject has been covered on a past thread and the answer was that there are no fields available and no guarantee of enough student involvement. Frankly, I think there are no students available after school due to excessive homework, resume building, and fiddling with social networks. Most athletes sacrifice their grades to play a sport, as it entails at least two hours after school each day, plus games. And some sports require the students to stay and watch all the games (ie: freshman watch JV and Varsity games). Those who want to play for fun can join AYSO even in senior year. Or they can join the track team, but the track meets are 4 hours on a weekday and practice is two hours each day.


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Posted by Can't afford pound foolish
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2014 at 3:41 am

@PalyAlum,
You seem not to understand what intramural sports are - or willfully so, since you're doing all that nonsensical handwaving.

If the kids have too much work to do stress relieving pick up baseball when they want to, without an huge game commitment, why exactly are we building an athletic center for sports that require far more commitment?

if something is built for the donated $20 million, it's still almost twice as much as was spent on Gunn's new athletic center. go back to the drawing board and live within the budget. It's not like it will entail a sacrifice.


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Posted by Palo Verde Parent
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 17, 2014 at 9:26 am

The new Gym at Gunn cost 12.9 M according to district reports. I am not sure if any other monies were spent to upgrade the existing Gym at Gunn. 36 - 40M is an outrageous amount of money for a public High school to spend on a Gym complex. I realize that 24M of that was donated but I still don't understand why a very nice complex cannot be built for the 24M and then use the rest of the money for other projects. If there are truly no other projects that need funding then I am sure there will be no need for any additional bond in the next 20 years. I find this an irresponsible use of the bond money. A quick look on the internet will give you information about other elaborate High school Gym complexes. There is no doubt that PAUSD could build a high quality complex for 24M. Why the extra 16 M?


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 17, 2014 at 10:31 am

To save time - the following will suggest that if you were to replace the (now) older Gunn gym (and it's classrooms, offices, training space, etc.) and build the new (competition) gym and weight/fitness facilities --- it would cost in excess of $24mil. as well.

There was money put towards upgrading/fixing the existing gym at Gunn. I don't know the amount. But keep in mind that the existing gym at Gunn had offices, classrooms, locker rooms, two wrestling rooms, trainers' room, weight room. The existing gym was built for a planned campus size of about 1600+ students - so it had almost sufficient space for staff and students. And the existing gym has floorspace to run 3 courts when the bleachers are stacked.

The new Gunn gym seats approx. 1900, has team rooms for the competitors and a new 40x80 weight room/fitness facility. Can run 2 courts when bleachers are stacked.

Contrast that the old gym at Paly has one 12x12 office for all of the coaches and teachers, locker room with about 500 lockers, 8 showers, training room for one student at a time, external weight room that is 15x25, gym floor can only run one court for basketball (or VB)...and it is seismically out of date. The small gym can run 2 undersized courts or one VB court. Has one room that is shared by Dance and wrestling. Locker room is also too small for current student body volume.

I don't know why the costs are higher than $24mil. But please note that the new Gunn gym (and weight room) is not an apples to apples comparison when you recognize that most of the Gunn supporting facilities are already built and sufficient for the current campus. Essentially the new gym is a gym for competition and a new training room. It isn't a full-scale replacement. And given the cost of the new Gunn gym, while recognizing that the existing gym houses everything else --- it is very easy to project that the existing gym at Gunn would cost far more than $12mil to replace.

Whereas the Paly project will replace all of the existing facilities (which are too small for the campus size) and then add on space so that it can accommodate current day needs/campus size.

In other words, $12mil for a competition gym and weight room facility does not compare to the 50% of the cost of replacing an entire athletic facility (that includes locker rooms, offices, classrooms, training rooms, etc.). Keeping that in mind, it is not so unrealistic to see why the Paly project will exceed $24mil.


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 17, 2014 at 10:36 am

BTW - I hope I'm coming across as analytical and not appearing combative. Just trying to point out that to do a full-scale replacement + new competition gym + new weight/fitness facility at Gunn would exceed $24mil. as well.


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Posted by iSez
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 17, 2014 at 11:35 am

iSez is a registered user.

@Crescent Park Dad: Clearly understandable now. Thanks!


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Posted by Palo Verde Parent
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 17, 2014 at 12:27 pm

@crescent park dad
Thanks for the information. I agree on some level with what you are saying, but I looked up the Project overview for the Gunn new Gym and here is what I found

"Project Overview - Gunn New Gymnasium is approximately 19,700 square feet and will be the new main gymnasium with bleacher capacity of approximately 1,900, a wrestling room, team rooms, a lobby, storage, offices, and restrooms. The new gym will be located to east of the Aquatics Center. The tennis courts and basketball courts will modified around the building, and the modernization of the existing Gym will include a new weight room and a new classroom."

It appears that for the 12.9 M Gunn got the square feet and bleachers as well as a new wrestling room, team rooms, storage, offices and restrooms as well as a concession area. It also appears that in that budget was also a modernization of the existing Gym.

The only difference will be the locker room space. I would think for another 12 Million they could do what they did at Gunn and add the locker room space.

I also am not trying to be combative but instead trying to understand why the price tag is 40 Million. It just seems like a very large sum when I think there are many other building needs around the district. I was also surprised to see that money set aside for furniture, fixture and other equipment at Paly (2.6 million) is being used for this project. Is there not a need for updated desks, science equipment, technology etc at the school?

Is there a special reason why the building at Paly is so expensive? I am just trying to understand.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 17, 2014 at 1:18 pm

One reason the gym is more expensive at Paly is that it isn't a gym - it is two gyms. They have to replace both. At Gunn, I believe they built a new large gym and did some minor renovations to the old gym.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2014 at 1:52 pm

It's a big jump from $24 Million to $40 Million. If two gyms like the new one at Gunn were built it would be $25.8 Million. So what does the other $14 Million buy?


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 17, 2014 at 4:47 pm

I would suggest everyone looks at the blueprints that are available on the PAUSD website.

Web Link

The final/last submission of drawings shows the two Gunn gyms as I describe.
- no new wrestling room
- team rooms are 2 rooms are dressing rooms for competition only.
- one office
- restrooms for spectators
- adjacent weight room / fitness facility

The new Paly gyms (2) will replace existing and will have expanded sqft to serve current campus needs. Once completed, the new Paly facility will have approximately the same total square footage as Gunn does today.

The new Gunn gym does not provide the overall service that the main Gunn gym provides (offices, classrooms, locker rooms, training room, etc.). It is essentially an event space that can also be used for gym classes during the day.

You could duplicate the new Gunn gym and come in at $~25mil. But then you haven't built the locker rooms, class rooms, wrestling room, training rooms, etc.

I think one of the extra cost factors for the new Paly gyms is the fact that instead of building up or out, they are building down. For example, the playing level for the new basketball arena will be below grade...when you walk into the gym from the lobby, you'll be a the top of the stands. And the new locker rooms and weight room will be built below the second gym playing level (ground level). Because of the location, they cannot expand the footprint of the new gyms - the existing gyms are shoe horned between the lacrosse field, science buildings, the pool, baseball field and the PAUSD corporate yard (where all the buses and trucks park each evening). Let's be honest, building up would probably cause a raucous with the surrounding neighborhood --- so I can see why they chose to build down.




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Posted by Palo Verde Parent
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 17, 2014 at 5:34 pm

@ crescent park dad

"You could duplicate the new Gunn gym and come in at $~25mil. But then you haven't built the locker rooms, class rooms, wrestling room, training rooms, etc."

That is where we disagree. The entire new Gym at Gunn, including the weight room, dance studio, team changing rooms, food services and office was 12.9M. I don't see why with almost double that at 25M one couldn't also build classrooms and locker rooms especially since there are existing locker rooms in both Gyms at Paly.

I don't disagree that because of the age and existing space in the Paly gyms more money would be needed compared to the Gym that was built at Gunn but 40M is over 3 times as much money. I would think for double the amount at Gunn or 25M they could build a pretty extensive complex that would house all the necessary spaces.

I don't doubt that the Board will approve the money and that the complex will be impressive, but I for one will hesitate the next time the district asks for more bond money for essentials.


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Posted by Fred
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 17, 2014 at 9:45 pm

While I don't know the details, I am pretty sure the new Paly gym is "state of the art" and will exceed in the Gunn gym in various ways. It was modeled to meet/exceed the Menlo School gym, which was viewed as the fanciest gym in the area. I don't know what exactly makes it fancy, but I am pretty sure it is as fancy as a high school can get.

Also, note that the Gunn projects were all done during a very favorable construction cost period, when most projects came in at or below estimates. That is not the case today, so I am pretty sure you could not do the Gunn project today for the same price. Would it be 10% higher? 20%? 30%? Not sure, but it would be higher.

Finally, the builder is not the lowest cost builder, it is the builder the Perry's want to work with. The district has agreed, subject to capping its contribution. I'm sure they will do a nice job, and the cost is probably in the realm of reason, but it is likely not the lowest available cost.


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Posted by Don
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2014 at 11:56 pm

I'm sure neither the district nor the Perry family wants it to cost this much, but CrescentPark Dad does a pretty good job explaining the cost and how different this is from Gunn. Two gyms and no one has mentioned the need to accommodate the pool in between them. If the pool hadn't been re-done a few years back, the whole design would be different and cheaper. Fact is, to do this project right, it's going to be significant and let's just be thankful the Perry's are willing to make it possible!


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 18, 2014 at 10:56 am

And I'd like re-emphasize that the entire new facility will have a basement level...which does increase the cost per square foot by a huge amount. In fact they are going to have to close the pool during excavation through the completion of the foundation/basement walls (safety concerns).


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Posted by Gunn parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 18, 2014 at 12:10 pm

It is my understanding that the kids from Palo Alto high school will be using the gymn at Gunn high school. It seems like it would make sense to build one gymn at a time. This would put a burden on the Gunn and the Palo Alto high school kids and families to juggle the times for using the gym. At Gunn there are freshmen, JV and Varsity basketball teams for the girls and boys.

Please note the new gymn at Gunn does not have windows that open up to cool the place down. It is set up for air conditioning but no air conditioning was put in the gym.


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 18, 2014 at 3:37 pm

The arrangements for the basketball, volleyball, water polo and swim teams has Gunn keeping their normal practice times. The Paly teams (when they train at Gunn) will come in during the hours that Gunn would not normally use. In other words, Gunn teams will not have to sacrifice their normal practice times. Paly teams will also practice/play at other facilities in the area besides Gunn.


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Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 18, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Nora Charles is a registered user.

Anyone else find this somewhat obscene?

Oh, that homeless animals and their basic shelter were valued a fraction as much as high school sport.


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Posted by Can't afford pound foolish
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2014 at 9:14 pm

"Let's be honest, building up would probably cause a raucous with the surrounding neighborhood --- so I can see why they chose to build down."

Lots of justifications. No sense, and no facts. They built up on more than one new building already, so that's just nonsense. The new gym at Gunn is a giant monstrosity -- and there's a raucous now over the district's ocr nonsense, since when did a raucous cause them to spend $16million on stuff we don't need?

The truth is, $40 M is a lot of money and we don't need to spend it on the gym, when they could build a pretty fancy gym for the money donated.

When people complained about parity because of so much more being spent at Paly, I thought they were being petty, but now to get this $20M donation, we need to spend $16 million more? And what if there are cost overruns? No! Live with a budget -- a big, fat one, at that -- or don't take the gift.

Just because I can get a Rolex at half price doesn't mean I should buy it if I can't afford to clothe my kids because of it and can do the job with a Timex within my budget.

A real gift is supposed to be just that. It would be one thing if we were so flush that our admin people didn't complain they had no money for basic need after basic need. This is a district where our schools don't even have on-site hot meal cafeteria facilities anymore. $16 million could buy the land to put up a badly needed new middle school.

There's another term than gift for taking money and bending over backwards for it. Forget it.


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