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Puttin' on the Ritz

Original post made on Oct 9, 2009

Matthew Zito, principal of Menlo-Atherton High School, recently gave reporters a tour of the school's new theater, a $32 million, 492-seat complex that has re-invigorated the Middlefield Road edge of the campus and should wow theater-goers with high-end acoustics and sophisticated lighting and sound systems.
[Web Link ■ ==B Opening events at new M-A High theater==.]
[Web Link ■ ==B Numbers tell a tale.==]

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, October 9, 2009, 12:18 PM

Comments (7)

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Posted by WLhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Oct 9, 2009 at 1:55 pm

I have been critical of this project since it began, so I won't change my tune now that its complete. Its water under the bridge now, but I hope the school district, Atherton and Menlo Park will use this as a learning experience. Poorly planned projects produce poor results, and this structure is a great example of that. It is ugly, regardless from what angle you view it. According to this article there are 300 parking spaces for a 492 seat facility that will be made available for public events at least 55 times a year. If you live near by, do the math, and get ready for the parking and traffic issues that are surely coming(recall the district was exempt from having to do a traffic study-so they did not). The article also mentioned that the structure is 70 feet high. I don't know what Atherton's height limit is, but I do know that Menlo Park's is 50'. Granted, since the building is on school property, as Pat Gemma was quick to point out many times, they don't have to comply with local rules, the fact is this building could not be more visible given its location on campus. Lastly, while Principle Zito and the architect would like us to think about the "grove of heritage oaks screening the building from Middlefield", go back and look at pre-project pictures of the grove of trees that was clear cut to make room for the under-sized parking lot.

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Posted by JJ
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 9, 2009 at 2:47 pm

The earlier commenter invites us to "do the math" based on 300 parking spaces and 492 seats, and suggests this is self-evidently a problem. Are we supposed to just divide one by the other and say 492 doesn't fit into 300? But won't people carpool -- even just couples coming together -- or bike, or walk -- it's a community facility, after all? Why this implied assumption that everyone has to bring to bring one car each?

For myself, I'm looking forward to walking over there this weekend and seeing the PAC do its job. It's a fantastic facility for the kids and I'm excited to see what they do with it. Let's reserve judgment for a while on whether we think the results are good or poor until they have their chance with it.

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Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Oct 9, 2009 at 3:38 pm

An absurd waste of money.

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Posted by Wowed
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Oct 10, 2009 at 11:49 am

I went to the opening last night. I left completely in love with the building and inspired by the students! They're so excited and so talented. They deserve this and so does our community. I don't want to discourage walking, riding your bikes or carpooling but the house was packed and there was PLENTY of parking. Bravo!

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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Corte Madera School
on Oct 11, 2009 at 10:47 pm

how can one not be horrifed by these comments

1) Asked about the escalation from the original estimate of $17 million, M-A Principal Matthew Zito replied: "What we asked for was not going to fit in a $17 million budget, and so the price went up."

2) Mr. Zito said: "This building has to be useful, but it also has to look good when you're driving by at 35 mph in your Mercedes."

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Posted by Michael Fero
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Oct 12, 2009 at 12:35 pm


It is a awesome modern building and a fantastic addition to the community. Our great MA students and community deserve this wonderful facility. A very smart use of public funds that speaks well of our public school district and the City of Menlo Park.

Well Done!

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Catherine McMillan
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 12, 2009 at 1:14 pm

After attending two evenings of entertainment in the new Performing Arts Center, we feel so fortunate that our children (and the entire community) have the opportunity to benefit from this top-notch facility. We are grateful for and fully supportive of the long-term vision of the district and of all the people who have worked tirelessly to bring this project to completion. We are immensely proud to be calling ourselves an M-A family. Way to go, M-A!

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