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February 08, 2006

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Publication Date: Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Phillips Brooks School rebuilding plan wins approvals Phillips Brooks School rebuilding plan wins approvals (February 08, 2006)

** Private school will add 10,000 square feet, but not increase enrollment.

By David Boyce

Almanac Staff Writer

Phillips Brooks School cleared two more necessary hurdles in its plans to expand school and parking facilities on the campus at 2245 Avy Ave. in Menlo Park.

The school's construction plans recently won the unanimous approval of both the Menlo Park Planning Commission and the Board of Trustees of the Las Lomitas Elementary School District, which leases the property to the private school.

The next step is approval by the office of the state architect, which oversees all public school construction.

Phillips Brooks is a private school, but the state architect is involved because the public Las Lomitas district owns the campus. The lease and Phillips Brooks' conditional use permit with the city of Menlo Park run until 2022, said school spokeswoman Joyce Massaro.

Groundbreaking at the school, which has classes from preschool to grade 5, is set to begin in June.

When construction is finished -- scheduled for September 2007 -- the floor area on the 4.5-acre campus will have grown by about 10,000 square feet, but the number of students and staff will stay at 276 and 50, respectively, said Ms. Massaro.

Under the plan, 7,125 square feet in five temporary buildings housing six classrooms and a faculty lounge will be demolished and be replaced with 17,120 square feet of new construction, including seven permanent classrooms, a library, a multi-use room for assemblies, and an administration building and faculty lounge.

Among the new classrooms will be a music, art and science building, which will be a change; currently, these classes are held on an outdoor patio, said Ms. Massaro.

The noise of student activities in general will be moved away from Avy Avenue and into the center of the campus, where the new multi-use room and preschool will be, said Ms. Massaro. "We're kind of bringing our activities for children inside," she said in an interview.

Finding a parking space on campus should be easier when the project is complete, with the number of slots to rise to 93 from the current 39.

New evergreen trees, shrubberies, ornamental plants and ground cover will line the frontage on three levels along Avy Avenue so as to screen the parking lot from the street and soften the border between the school and neighborhood homes.

The new construction fills out original but uncompleted plans for the campus when it was built in the 1960s, said Ms. Massaro.


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