In 2010, the district began solar panel construction on campus with the passage of the $41.3 million Measure A bond, which is financing the district-wide construction projects. Currently, the school has ongoing construction for new classrooms which the district projects will be completed in the 2013-2014 school year.
The district-wide construction is a result of the need to accommodate for the growth in enrollment, to help the school to be more environmentally friendly, and to ensure safety within the classrooms.
“These buildings were not only designed to provide state-of-the-art classrooms, but will also be sustainable,” said Joe White, Associate Superintendent of Business Services, who is the head of the construction projects, in an interview with the Los Altos Town Crier.
The classrooms are meant to help house the increase in students for the 2013-2014 school year. It projects that the high schools will receive around 400 additional students, and after the increase the student body population will remain constant. The cost of construction, including renovations, is between $18 to $19 million dollars.
“If we don’t have a lot of those classrooms, it would result in expanding the current schedule,” White said.
The expansion of the schedule would include larger class sizes and more zero and seventh periods.
The plans for the school include a two-story building that will house nine general-education classrooms and three art rooms. In addition to the construction of new rooms, the school is also renovating existing artrooms to serve as new chemistry and biology rooms.
Ongoing construction has rendered two tennis courts and a portion of the back of the school unavailable for use. This summer the construction focused on setting up the infrastructure and power; the school hopes to see the actual building take place by September.
“We will have more truck traffic at the back of the school, but it shouldn’t impact [the school],” principal Wynne Satterwhite said. “Athletics and marching band will feel it the most.”
In addition to the implementation of new classes, the district has pushed the schools to be more environmentally sustainable — the reason behind last year’s construction of solar panels in the parking lot.
White said that the solar panels are saving the district $250,000 a year. In addition, PG&E has given the school $250,000 for putting on the solar panels. He estimates that in 15 years, the district will “break even” with the cost of the solar panel construction.
Other renovations of the schools include a revitalized fire alarm and public address system, which is how students hear the daily announcements.