As enrollment increased by 40 percent in the past 11 years, Menlo Park City School District schools have steadily become more and more overcrowded. On Monday, Oct. 17, students should get some breathing room as the new Laurel School Upper Campus opens for 300 students in grades 3 to 5.
The school was built on property the district had been leasing since 1991 to the German-American International School (recently renamed the Alto International School). The district demolished the former O'Connor School on the site before beginning construction in summer 2015.
The new school gives more room to both the Laurel School Lower Campus and Encinal School. Previously students in the Laurel School attendance area went to Laurel from kindergarten through third grade and then to Encinal for fourth and fifth grades.
Students have been squeezing together on the lower campus since school started Sept. 1.
The new school has 16 classrooms, two STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) labs, a music room, library and a multi-use gym. The school also has a covered eating area, spaces that can be shared by teachers for collaborative activities, and offices. Outside, the school has a playground, running track and a baseball and soccer field.
It was built with proceeds of a $23 million bond measure approved by more than 75 percent of the voters in 2013.
The new school's public grand opening, which will serve double-duty as a celebration of Laurel School winning a National Blue Ribbon Schools award, will be held from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday Oct. 22, at the school, located at 275 Elliott Drive in Menlo Park.