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$50 million construction project kicks off at Ravenswood middle school

Two new buildings will include flexible working spaces, a media center, offices for student services, classrooms

Crews clear debris from a demolished building during construction on Cesar Chavez Ravenswood Middle School in East Palto Alto on March 2, 2022. The $50 million project will modernize existing classrooms and build new wings and spaces, including a media center. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

At the back of Cesar Chavez Ravenswood Middle School's campus are 30-year-old portables, which have been in use far longer than intended. The buildings are juxtaposed by the pristine-looking lawn of the neighboring Rich May Memorial Field.

The "stark contrast" between the field and the campus make clear how much the school needs updates, said Ravenswood City School District Chief Business Officer Will Eger. That's why last month, construction began on the $50 million project, expected to last a year and a half, which aims to bring the East Palo Alto school facilities up to modern standards, with air conditioning and flexible working spaces for students.

It is the single largest new capital project in Ravenswood's history, and calls for two new buildings at the front of the campus at 2450 Ralmar Ave. Half the school is open to its 567 students during construction, which is expected to be completed in December 2023.

A rendering of the future Cesar Chavez Ravenswood Middle School. The new design will showcase an existing mural at the East Palo Alto school. Courtesy Ravenswood City School District.

The district's first two-story building will include seven classrooms and a media center that looks out onto two courtyards.

The second, a one-story building, will create a single point of entry for the school. It will include four new classrooms as well as a new cluster of student service offices for students to meet with various support staff. The plan also calls for renovating all remaining classrooms.

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"It's a more cohesive, unified design," said Chris Bradley, a senior associate partner with SVA-Architects, who helped design the school.

When the middle school opened in 2017, it shared the campus with Cesar Chavez Academy. The 2019-20 school year marked the first year that the school operated as only one entity, exclusively serving sixth through eighth grade.

The project, initiated by the school board's facilities committee in 2015, is funded through the $70 million Measure S bond passed by voters in 2018.

The school district is also partnering with Palo Alto's Magical Bridge Foundation to build a playground at the middle school site. The nonprofit creates and develops playgrounds for people of all abilities.

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Angela Swartz writes for The Almanac, a sister publication of PaloAltoOnline.com.

Angela Swartz
 
Angela Swartz joined The Almanac in 2018 and covers education and small towns. She has a background covering education, city politics and business. Read more >>

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$50 million construction project kicks off at Ravenswood middle school

Two new buildings will include flexible working spaces, a media center, offices for student services, classrooms

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Fri, Mar 11, 2022, 6:52 am

At the back of Cesar Chavez Ravenswood Middle School's campus are 30-year-old portables, which have been in use far longer than intended. The buildings are juxtaposed by the pristine-looking lawn of the neighboring Rich May Memorial Field.

The "stark contrast" between the field and the campus make clear how much the school needs updates, said Ravenswood City School District Chief Business Officer Will Eger. That's why last month, construction began on the $50 million project, expected to last a year and a half, which aims to bring the East Palo Alto school facilities up to modern standards, with air conditioning and flexible working spaces for students.

It is the single largest new capital project in Ravenswood's history, and calls for two new buildings at the front of the campus at 2450 Ralmar Ave. Half the school is open to its 567 students during construction, which is expected to be completed in December 2023.

The district's first two-story building will include seven classrooms and a media center that looks out onto two courtyards.

The second, a one-story building, will create a single point of entry for the school. It will include four new classrooms as well as a new cluster of student service offices for students to meet with various support staff. The plan also calls for renovating all remaining classrooms.

"It's a more cohesive, unified design," said Chris Bradley, a senior associate partner with SVA-Architects, who helped design the school.

When the middle school opened in 2017, it shared the campus with Cesar Chavez Academy. The 2019-20 school year marked the first year that the school operated as only one entity, exclusively serving sixth through eighth grade.

The project, initiated by the school board's facilities committee in 2015, is funded through the $70 million Measure S bond passed by voters in 2018.

The school district is also partnering with Palo Alto's Magical Bridge Foundation to build a playground at the middle school site. The nonprofit creates and develops playgrounds for people of all abilities.

Angela Swartz writes for The Almanac, a sister publication of PaloAltoOnline.com.

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