On a blustery June day, Portola Valley School District community members gathered at the town's two public schools to celebrate groundbreaking ceremonies for the district's $49.5 million bond measure project.
Last week, new construction funded by Measure Z commenced at Ormondale and Corte Madera schools. Former superintendent Eric Hartwig, who headed the district when the measure passed in 2018, spoke at the ceremony and said it was gratifying to see the project coming to fruition. He gifted Chief Business Official Connie Ngo a framed pipe that had leaked in Corte Madera's multi-use room as a good luck charm.
Corte Madera Principal Kristin Shima, who is wrapping up her first year heading the school, said at a June 7 groundbreaking ceremony that she was excited to celebrate the occasion in person after over a year of sheltering in place.
"I'm excited our focus is on rebuilding these innovation rooms: our art rooms, our STEM labs, our science buildings, our outdoor learning spaces," she told community members. "To get us back to hands-on learning for our students, especially after this year where our kids have been really forced to learn online and on Zoom."
Shima asked audience members to pause and take in the scenery of Portola Valley.
"The (construction) plans really have us opening this space up, so we can really look up and look out," she said.
Ormondale, which serves students from transitional kindergarten through third grade, will gain a new entry, courtyard and makerspace patio, according to a June 10 note from Superintendent Roberta Zarea in the town newsletter. Ormondale will have a sensory garden, including plants for play therapy, interactive play spaces, outdoor seating and a new greenhouse, she wrote.
Corte Madera, which serves grades four through eight, will gain a new atrium with a view to Windy Hill, a new fourth and fifth grade classroom that looks out over the Frog Pond, an amphitheater, new landscaping and new lunch seating, she said.
"Over the past three years, we have come together as parents, neighbors, district staff, school board members, and our construction planning partners to design campus improvements that will continue PVSD's heritage of respecting our town's unique beauty while updating our schools and providing the 21st century classroom environments in which today's learners thrive," she said.
Demolition began at both schools on June 14. At Corte Madera, primary access to the construction areas will be through the site's main entrance until the access road from Alpine Road is complete. Temporary fencing around the main parking lot will be set up.
At Ormondale, construction access will be through the circular staff parking area off of Shawnee Pass. Areas of construction fencing will be set up on the sidewalks along Iroquois Trail for accessibility upgrades. Summer school is taking place on the other half of the campus, opposite the construction area, through July 9.
Students headed off to summer break after finishing up classes on Wednesday, June 9. The 2021-22 school year begins Aug. 26.