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Work begins on new Performing Arts Center at Paly

Original post made on Jul 18, 2014

Palo Alto High School students will encounter a construction zone and a parking squeeze this fall as two major building projects take shape on opposite sides of campus.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, July 18, 2014, 12:00 AM

Comments (13)

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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 19, 2014 at 8:50 am

[Post removed.]

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Posted by randy albin
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 19, 2014 at 10:24 am

what about the spangenberg auditorium at Gunn? this seems to be forward looking. where is this funding coming from? these high schools do need facilities for performing arts

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Posted by Renderings please
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 19, 2014 at 1:12 pm


Can you please post the renderings of what the PAC at Paly will look like?

They are digging up right smack up against the street (Embarcadero) and I recall the PAC will exceed the height limits, so does this mean that there is a fortress look coming up?

Please someone show renderings of how this will look. A few views will be helpful.
1) What will it look like driving east and west
2) what will it look like when you are crossing the street between T&C and Paly
3) What will it look like when you are sitting down in the Peet's coffee sitting area.


Can you please post the renderings?


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 19, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Renderings please,
Suggest you could do your own research.
Here are the results of my attempt to find the latest plans.

Web Link

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Posted by Brian
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 19, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Oops. Looks like I grabbed the wrong link. Here's the correct one.

Web Link

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Posted by Theatre Mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 19, 2014 at 2:37 pm

@renderings: these were posted three-five years ago when the design was being considered and created at OPEN public meetings by the Paly Facilities Steering Committee and the Theatre Subcommittee. You may still be able to find them on the district website.

The funds are from the bond we passed 6 YEARS AGO.

The City of PA height limits don't apply to the district property. This theatre will have a "full fly" enabling quality theatrical productions.

When the design was being considered four years ago, the committee held public meetings and community outreach meetings. In addition, the School Board reviewed and considered the designs in at least four public meetings.

I just checked the PAUSD website and the dates and minutes of all those meetings are listed there. You can also search the paonline website for articles published at the time.

I am so excited that construction has begun! The students whose parents advocated for the new PAC will have graduated long before construction is complete. The students to first occupy the new theatre were in elementary school when the hard work was done.

You're welcome.

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Posted by Renderings please
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 19, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Theater mom,

I recall that PA city height limits don't apply, but I was not conscious or very aware that the building which breaks with the city height restrictions would be at the street level. I sort of imagined it farther away.

The renderings from these links are not comprehensive or very forthcoming. Just 1 view from the parking lot, and 1 short view from Embarcadero. But even from what is available, you can see the building completely changes the openness of Paly.

My comments have nothing to do with the merits of the Paly theater program by the way.

Weekly and PAUSD, please post more comprehensive and more realistic renderings - like what it will look like when you're crossing the street from Trader Joe's, longer shots from T&C and the view from the Paly entrance to the outside.

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Posted by Renderings please
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 19, 2014 at 3:16 pm

I realize this is all a done deal, but at least we can be prepared for the change. It's a big one.

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Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 19, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Great to see the work being done, but my poor almost junior has been going to school in construction zones from kindergarten moving into a portable half way through the year , through middle school and now Paly, for his whole school career. He has never seen the benefits of any of the construction in any of the schools he has attended.

He even got bumped out of the kids "The Drop" in 6th grade to make way for the new Mitchell Park library. I wonder if he will graduate before it is finished?

Nice for the young ones though who have never seen any of the construction.

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 19, 2014 at 9:30 pm

To the poster way towards the top: Gunn will be doing a theater renovation and expansion.

To renderings: page 11 and 12 of the linked presentation show a street view from TC and another from the Paly parking lot.

I appreciate that all of the new buildings reflect the established architecture of the campus. That the architects did not attempt to make statement buildings like what is going on around town.

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Posted by rose
a resident of Mayfield
on Jul 21, 2014 at 11:59 am

Students shouldn't be driving to high school if they live in town. Walk or bike and l) protect their health through exercise 2) have fun riding 3) reduce traffic 4) reduce air and noise pollution from unnecessary car trips 5) reduce their parents' transportation costs It's a no brainer!!!
What can we do -- charge for a parking permit at Paly and charge A LOT. That's one successful thing Stanford did to reduce unnecessary employee driving.

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Posted by
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 21, 2014 at 1:46 pm

This new project reinvigorates the need for rapid bike and pedestrian safety improvements on Embarcadero. The City and School must make improvements in the next month to increase safety as they invite more students to use this hazardous access approach to Palo Alto High.

The obvious hazards are differentiated by the time of the day - when the street is gridlocked or when the street is unobstructed.

When the roadway is gridlocked, students routinely unload in the middle of Embarcadero or jaywalk one side to the other. The pedestrian crossing is unprotected as vehicles in the gridlock do not stop where the pedestrians stop, nor can they view the signals. In morning and afternoon, students wind through cars on Embarcadero.

When the roadway is unobstructed, vehicles speed upwards of 50 mph as they open the car up to speed under the crossing. At the same time pedestrians and bikes are the unprotected sidewalks sloping toward the street. The same pedestrians and cyclist are sitting ducks as the cross the exit from Embarcadero to Alma - again at high speed.

Now there are no structured bike lanes or pedestrian access from the eastern side of Alma. Walking and cycling is on tired sidewalks, asymmetric cross walks, and is poorly lit. Improvements were promised by the City when Town and Country was expanded -- the promises were not kept.

A few recommendations include:

- Install railing on the underpass between the sidewalk and roadway that discourages crossing Embarcadero, discourages unloading in the middle of the street, and protects youngsters if they loose control while riding down Embarcadero's ramps.
- Enhance the bike/pedestrian access routing from Kingsley/Emerson (on north side) - this might entail widening and lighting the sidewalks, and clarifying bike/pedestrian use. A similar change should be studied on the south side.
- Consider ways to slow the traffic on Embarcadero. There is little enforcement of speed, especially when cars race to access Alma. Should there be speed bumps as cars exit to Alma?

I expect there are other improvements that can increase bike and pedestrian safety while still carrying the high traffic demands of this corridor. If we increase safety and streamline the bike/pedestrian routing, more parents will feel that the safety of their children is provided for. I too on my bike commute to work, would feel considerably safer.

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 21, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Serious recommendation - add speed bumps to the Embarcadero/Alma underpass. Three spots - each downhill/uphill section and the bottom of the underpass.

Too many drivers fly through there. Especially when heading towards 101.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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