Schools - August 18, 2010

Hillview rebuild: Handling noise, parking issues

by Sandy Brundage

The Menlo Park City School district is taking steps to address concerns voiced by neighbors of Hillview Middle School, who are worried about how construction will affect their quality of life, according to Superintendent Ken Ranella.

Mr. Ranella e-mailed an update to interested parties on Aug. 9 detailing how the school will handle noise and parking during construction. Workers will follow the city's noise ordinance by working between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. during the week. If construction must occur outside regular hours, the school plans to notify residents living near the campus, he said.

As for parking, the school district has asked the city to designate staff-only parking on the east side of Elder Street once classes start on Aug. 24. Mr. Ranella said the staff will be encouraged to share rides or get to work by bike or foot.

Traffic has been an ongoing issue near the campus at the corner of Santa Cruz and Elder avenues. In June, the City Council voted to begin talks with the school district about installing a stoplight on the corner to help ease the impact of the expanded campus.

The move led to opposition by residents, who think the traffic signal will impede access to Santa Cruz Avenue from their homes. The school district and the city still have to decide who will foot the estimated $240,000 bill for the signal.

Construction work on the new campus began in July. The school's tennis and basketball courts, field, and parking lot, along with a next-door playground, are being demolished during the first phase of construction, which is expected to last up to five months, according to Ahmad Sheikholeslami, district director of facility planning and construction.

The school district aims to complete construction of the new campus, with 80,000 square feet of structures, by December 2011.

Residents are encouraged to call Construction Manager Brenda Parella at 321-7140, ext. 5616, to report issues with regard to compliance or safety.


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