A new two-story classroom building, plus a new kindergarten play area and five new single-story classrooms are proposed to be ready for occupancy at Duveneck Elementary School by January 2014.
The Palo Alto school board tonight (Tuesday) will vote on a "conceptual design" for the proposed $10.56 million project. Money will come from the $378 million "Strong Schools" bond measure passed in 2008, which has or will fund upgrades on all 17 of Palo Alto's public school campuses.
The proposed new building at Duveneck will replace eight portable classrooms -- and add three more classrooms to accommodate future growth. (See image)
It also will reconfigure three existing classrooms into a school library.
Architect Lisa Gelfand told the Board of Education the project will get Duveneck most of the way -- but not all the way -- to being a campus everybody is happy with.
"We looked at the site and found a difficult situation," Gelfand told school board members last month.
"We found a lot of sun, a lot of drainage and portables all over the place. We also found needs that will only be dealt with in a future bond -- an atypical location of a multi-purpose building everybody hates, but will have to wait."
Gelfand said all improvements planned for Phase I will be coordinated with what happens in the future.
"By converting the classrooms into a library, what we do now and in the future is to consolidate the public uses at a hinge or fulcrum of the school, pretty evenly split between the upper and lower grades."
The conceptual design for Duveneck follows seven school site meetings, two traffic safety meetings and one community meeting to discuss the possible changes.
Duveneck parent Sarah Sands, Principal John Lents and reading teacher Margaret Row appeared before the school board last month to advocate for the plan.
Sands said the two-story classroom option "made a big difference.
"With one-story, we were starting to encroach into the yard, which felt pretty uncomfortable to a lot of parents," she said.
Lents said, "We tried to keep in mind the clustering of grade levels and to retain as much green space as possible -- and to move toward a more 'natural play area' rather than all the isolated climbing structures."
The proposal calls for the new two-story wing to be constructed at the east end of campus, holding eight classrooms to accommodate the upper grades.
For kindergartners and first-graders, five new single-story classrooms will be constructed -- with a play space in between.
If the board approves conceptual designs tonight, a timetable calls for more refined, "schematic designs" to be ready by late March, mandatory state review to occur between September and May 2012, and construction to take place from August 2012 to December 2013.
The public session of tonight's school board meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the board room of school district headquarters at 25 Churchill Ave.