Hallway fences expand to keep construction on schedule

Written by Joy Huang

On May 10, the construction fences facing the K and L buildings were expanded so that only the hallway remained available to students. This was done to keep construction on schedule, according to Assistant Principal Tara Keith.

Throughout this school year, Keith has been working with construction company Alten and project management company fs3|Hodges to prioritize the needs of the students. “When [the construction crew] asks about expanding fence lines and making adjustments, the conversation is always around how it will impact students in getting to class,” Keith said. “Sometimes the banging and the drilling are very disruptive to students at the K building when they are testing, so we ask them to pause and work on the other side.”

Thee overall construction progress is being completed on schedule, according to Keith. Out of two phases, Phase One is a renovation of the front portion of the Spangenberg theater and the addition of new choral and instrumental classrooms. It is projected to be done by the end of August. The lobby area of Spangenberg will be revamped and the bathrooms will be made more accessible in accordance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Phase Two is the Central Building Project, which is expected to be finished by the beginning of second semester next school year. The district would determine then whether to move in over winter break or during the summer.

The first floor of the Central Building will house the Student Activities Center, two Makerspaces, which are workplaces for people, and classrooms for journalism, yearbook and graphic design, according to Keith. On the second floor, there will be counselor offices, a wellness center and classrooms for positive psychology and psychology, yoga and Living Skills.

Junior Karly Hou is happy with the progress of the construction over the school year. “You can really see all the work they have been doing and how quickly the project is coming along,” she said. “It’s actually pretty cool because a lot of students weren’t expecting them to do so much in this amount of time.”

However, junior Patrick Gersh feels that there should be more workers. “In 1931, the Empire State Building was constructed in one year and forty five days,” he said. “I would expect that in 2018, a building with a hundred fewer floors would take less time to construct.”

In addition to the Spangenberg renovation and the Central Building project, there are also other projected construction projects on campus; Gunn plans to update the sound system in the Bow Gym after AP testing is done.

During the summer, there will be a City of Palo Alto project on Charleston and Arastradero in order to make the entrance of Gunn more ADA-accessible and safe. There will also be football field renovations, where a new sound system, pressbox and scoreboard will be added to support the school’s soccer teams after the football season starting next school year.