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Portola Valley school district shares new classroom designs

Classrooms will be funded by $49.5 million bond measure

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Parents, community members and administrators gathered at Ormondale School on Nov. 5 to view mock-ups of schematic design plans for changes to the Portola Valley School District's two schools. The new classroom construction will be funded by the $49.5 million Measure Z bond, which voters passed last November to fund school repairs and renovations. A new two-story classroom building at Corte Madera School is estimated to cost between $38.4 million and $42.5 million. At Ormondale School, projects costing $10.9 million to $12 million are included as first-phase priorities.

Construction is slated to begin in spring 2021, according to district officials. The design of the buildings will aesthetically match the surrounding residential neighborhoods, with gabled roofs, large clear windows and lots of natural light, said Brent McClure, principal at CAW Architects, which is designing the new classrooms.

Teachers will be able to mix indoor and outdoor learning on the newly designed campuses, directly connecting students with nature, he said. Classrooms will be organized around a central atrium at Corte Madera, the district's 4-8 school, and workers will build a deck which will overlook the Frog Pond. The deck could be used for lessons on the watershed and seasons, as well as bird watching, McClure said. Superintendent Roberta Zarea noted that the Frog Pond is not currently used as part of classroom lessons.

District officials want the new buildings to be "highly sustainable" and have solar panels, McClure said. CAW will determine in the next couple of months how close the new buildings will be to attaining net zero energy waste, he said. Net zero energy waste buildings are operated to reduce, reuse, recycle, compost, or recover solid waste streams, which results in zero waste disposal, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Many of the classrooms at Corte Madera will connect to one another to allow for large group gatherings, and they will have large windows, McClure said. These features aid 21st-century learning, which includes team teaching, both indoor and outdoor activities, and large meeting spaces. The new campus configuration will open up views of Windy Hill Open Space Preserve, he said.

Community members told the district they want to incorporate the surrounding open space into Corte Madera's new design, McClure said. This helped shape the design of the school, he said.

A gardening program at Ormondale, the district's K-3 school, helped shape part of the campus' new design, he said. The campus will feature a greenhouse and offer therapy centered on playing with plants.

District officials expect construction workers to complete work on the new classrooms in January 2023.

The Nov. 5 event was one of two recent open houses to exhibit diagrams of new campus designs. Designs will be completed around February or March, Zarea said.

Go here to view the designs.


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6 people like this
Posted by 2Much
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Dec 3, 2019 at 9:42 am

Don't spend it all at once.
Enrollment is declining and tax payers are getting tired of your never ending bond measures.
Should have some better oversight as well.

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