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District to approve $77 million to make Gunn megacampus

Original post made by Parent, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 12, 2009

Word to the wise: the next time the school district wants money to upgrade the facilities, make them propose exactly what they want to do before voting your family a painful tax increase.

The architect hired by the district has proposed a site plan -- without even any elevations -- for building up Gunn HS, in order to increase the size of the student population to 2300 to 2500. Of course, we won't really know what the size will end up being, because if the plan is to grow Gunn and Paly, another few hundred students over and above 2300 projected (and when has that ever happened, right?) will be added to those campuses. The board is slated to rubber stamp the recommendation at next Tuesday's meeting.

Part of what is making Gunn construction so expensive is the need to put in two-story buildings because of lack of space. One building will cost $20 million, plus another few million to move the portables into the parking lot while that building goes up. They can't put up far cheaper single-story structures because there isn't room.

The Board and the HS administration like to keep repeating that the high school task force recommended not opening Cubberly, but I seem to recall them concluding that they didn't have the expertise to decide, and that they wanted to look at the curriculum instead. Did they at least come up with some round dollar figures for what it would cost to renovate and reopen Cubberly?

Can someone please post those costs if they know where to find them? There are some complicated issues around reopening Cubberly, but hey, if our superintendent and board are not up to dealing with complicated in order to ensure the best course for our district, I'm sure there are other qualified people out there in this economy who could (and don't let the door hit you on your way out).

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