The MVLA School Board yesterday unanimously approved the Facilities Master Plan following a recommendation by architects to add space for music facilities at Los Altos.
The school board delayed voting for the plan on Monday, January 8, after Los Altos parents voiced concerns that the plan did not provide Los Altos proper music facilities compared to Mountain View.
Parents on January 8 called Los Altos’ music facilities inadequate and detailed the lack of money for renovating and adding new performing arts facilities at Los Altos compared to Mountain View. While Mountain View has three rooms for performing arts and two full time band directors, Los Altos has two rooms and one full time band director.
“In terms of music, Mountain View has always been the favorite child,” a Los Altos parent said at the January 8 meeting. “Los Altos’ music facilities are not equal.”
Parents had also expressed concerns about Mountain View receiving $19 million more than Los Altos in the plan, especially since Los Altos has more students and fewer classrooms — Los Altos has 265 more students but 10 fewer classrooms, including portables.
According to the facilities bond budget ranges, the $19 million disparity stems from three key differences between changes to Mountain View and Los Altos:
1. Mountain View requires the enlargement of 24 classrooms to meet state size requirements which costs $8.1 million, while Los Altos doesn’t.
2. The construction of Mountain View’s student union building costs $7.4 million more than the construction of Los Altos’.
3. Mountain View requires renovations to their gym and Packard Hall, which costs $3.4 million more than Los Altos’ gym renovations.
Following the complaints, architectural firm Quattrocchi Kwok Architects (QKA) conducted square footage analyses comparing Los Altos and Mountain View’s athletic and music facilities. Although Mountain View’s funding will still be $18 million higher than Los Altos’, 940 square feet will be added to Los Altos’ music facilities, which would cost at most $1,045,000.
When construction under the plan finishes, Los Altos will have 103 classrooms and 80,335 square feet excluding classroom space, and Mountain View will have 106 classrooms and 76,780 square feet excluding classroom space. For music facilities, Los Altos will have 8,620 square feet and Mountain View will have 8,530 square feet.
Parents yesterday thanked the board, district staff and QKA for listening to their concerns and addressing them, and board members thanked community members for their input.
“I especially am grateful for the very high degree of civility with which you expressed your criticisms and the great amount of thought and detail that went into it,” board member Phil Faillace said at yesterday’s meeting. “It really raises the level of what we can accomplish when people approach an issue that way.”
The plan is projected to cost around $295 million, with $30 million of that set aside to be used as needed to build 20 additional classrooms in the district to accommodate student population growth. The board is seeking funding through a public bond measure.