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A landmark emerges on the M-A High School campus

Original post made on Aug 5, 2008

Lysistrata, Aristophanes' comedy in which Greek women from all sides of the Peloponnesian War withhold sex from their husbands until they agree to stop fighting, could, in a pinch, be staged today at the performing arts center being built at Menlo-Atherton High School.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, August 6, 2008, 12:00 AM

Comments (7)

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Posted by catching my breath
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 5, 2008 at 4:07 pm

Guess I was snoozing as this behemoth was taking shape on Middlefield, but the details in this story have sure slapped me awake. From an estimate of $18 million to $32 million -- with still more than a year to go of probable cost overruns??? Are there any private funds going into this lavish facility, or is the taxpayer picking up the tab entirely? Does anyone else think this project has crossed the line between providing for the education of our kids and out-of-control spending of public money?

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Posted by M-A parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 5, 2008 at 8:23 pm

"The 36 percent increase from M-A's original $18 million estimate..."

I know math is hard for some people, but how exactly is $32 million only 36% more than $18 million? And while I'm at it, how come this building cost twice as much as Woodside's theater? Obviously the writer is enamored of the design and the name-droppable people associated with it, but I'm with catching: is this truly the best use of public money?

Let's keep in mind that this is a public school, and one with a rundown physical plant. Yet the school has a relatively new, gorgeous pool, a stunning but badly designed and superfluous new gym, and now a breathtaking and expensive theater. Meanwhile, the classrooms could use a coat of paint, the science labs are outdated and inadequate, and the academic center of campus is about as attractive as a county jail.

M-A still provides a quality education, but it's too bad that the decision makers, like the writer, are so blinded by "world class design" that they forget why the school exists.

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Posted by David Boyce
Almanac staff writer
on Aug 6, 2008 at 9:56 am

David Boyce is a registered user.

M-A parent - You're right about the percentage increase. The actual increase is 78%

I mistakenly used a higher cost estimate as a baseline (from a story I wrote last year.) My fault. Thanks for pointing it out.

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Posted by Tom
a resident of another community
on Aug 7, 2008 at 9:43 am

Catching my Breath-take a very deep one-if this project got past you, you're probably not alone. Because the school is actually in Atherton and because evidently the laws pertaining to environmental studies, traffic impact studies and architectural control approvals don't apply to projects on State school land unless they're building 10+ classrooms, no public process was needed outside the school district board. It even made it pretty easy for Menlo Park City Council to throw $2 million of your money into the cost of the project so they can use it once in awhile. Anyway, just wait until the builder puts the copper clading (yup, copper) on the surfaces that are now just metal. Like putting a bow on a very ugly dog.

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Posted by Eric
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Aug 7, 2008 at 9:53 am

What is the day and date for the public tour of the building?
Article says Sunday, Sept 19.
However, Sept 19, 2008 is a Friday.

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Posted by David Boyce
Almanac staff writer
on Aug 7, 2008 at 9:59 am

David Boyce is a registered user.

In mid 2007, the project management for M-A's new theater eliminated the copper roof in favor of a standing-seam metal roof. The change in materials reportedly saved between $600,000 and $700,000.

Other cost saving moves at that time included cutting back on the number of seats from 500 to 483 (though the seating has gone back up to 494) and making the walls from concrete block rather than poured concrete.

The Almanac story can be found at Web Link.

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Posted by Renee Batti
associate editor of The Almanac
on Aug 7, 2008 at 10:53 am

Renee Batti is a registered user.

Eric, The correct date is Sunday, September 21. Sorry for the confusion.

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