Written by Janet Wang
Over the summer, Gunn was repainted based on the color scheme “Wildflowers,” a project that was led by the organization Paint Gunn High School. The painting process began on June 6 and lasted for about eight to nine weeks.
The idea of painting Gunn was initiated four or ve years ago as a recommendation by the Gunn Advisory Council—a committee of 25 people including parents, teachers and students who wanted to make the campus a welcoming place. The recommendation, however, fell through then due to a lack of funding.
After the suicide cluster, the repainting was brought back to the attention of the school board, who approved to release funding. Principal Dr. Denise Herrmann says that the administration wanted to repaint Gunn in hopes that the colors would uplift students’ spirits. “The idea is that having colors that are a little bit brighter and are happier in their mood and tone can be just one small thing to contribute to students feeling optimistic and happy on campus,” she said.
Soon after, the School Site Council selected the Palo Alto based rm Architarian Design to start the Paint Gunn High School project. In January, the firm began to conduct multiple
surveys around campus asking students a variety of questions ranging from, “What’s your favorite spot on campus?” to “How does the current paint scheme make you feel?” to incorporate student voice. ese survey results generated two color schemes—Wildflowers and Golden State. According to the Paint Gunn High School survey, 72.7 percent of students voted for “Wildflowers”—a palette consisting of pastel and neutral colors such as green, blue and yellow.
Junior Crystal Guo enjoyed the inclusion of student voice in the decision making for the final paint scheme.“It gave us a choice in how our campus should look, which is nice because it’s our campus,” she said.
When the school year ended, a team of 15 to 20 professional painters started renovating the buildings. To prepare the buildings for the paint, the walls were power-washed and primed with a coat of white paint. Then, each building was coated with four different paints—a different color for the ceiling, trim, wall and door.
One new feature of the repainting is the color-coded buildings. Herrmann said that the idea behind this came from parents and new students pointing out that the campus was confusing to navigate. “When someone said to, ‘Go to the M building or go to this building’ to meet a teacher for a conference or something, that was all of the brown buildings, and it was difficult to find places,” she said.
For junior Keshav Iyer, the color-coded buildings will make getting around campus easier. “One of the problems that [Gunn] has been facing for a long time is that it was a huge campus and it was hard to get around,” he said. “Now, people know the differences between the building.”
Before the repainting, students described the old paint scheme as “dull” and “gloomy.” Now, junior Mary Sapigao says that the new paint depicts Gunn as a creative and inspiring school. “I feel like brown is kind of a boring and sad color, and the people who were in charge of painting wanted us to be re ected as more of a creative school,” she said. “[We’re] more than just people who put their heads in the books and more of people who like to sing and dance and like to be social.”