Following the Palo Alto school board’s approval of a donation of $17 million to Addison Elementary School, school officials are moving forward with drafting construction plans for the new buildings.  

According to Addison Principal Amanda Boyce, the anonymous donation will aid the renovation of Palo Alto’s oldest and most densely-populated school. Collaborative efforts between various advisory committees, parents, and surveyed students led to plans to replace portables with new classrooms, build a new two-story library and administrative building, and build a new multi-purpose room.

“We prioritize removing the portables, because we have a very small footprint of a campus,” said Addison Principal Amanda Boyce. “Our admin building and our library are grossly undersized, as is our MP room, so we wanted to look at communal spaces that everybody benefits from.”

The library’s new position above the office would create more playspace for children, who currently lack outdoor learning environments. The intention is to create more outdoor space while also   constructing better quality classrooms with innovative furniture.

While school board member Ken Dauber shares Boyce’s gratitude for the donation, he voices concern over  inequity created between the twelve Palo Alto elementary schools.

“We have a district policy that was adopted over fifteen years ago that we want to maintain equity between the schools both in terms of education –  like teacher to student ratios and resources  – but also facilities, so that no matter where you go in the district  we are providing an equally excellent education,” Dauber said.  “We had not improved MP rooms in any of the other elementary schools, which raises  this question of progressive parody that’s district policy.”

With plans to construct these new spaces, administration has moved forward with the creation of  focus groups and advisory board meetings that convene weekly. Boyce and fellow staff members are also visiting various elementary schools around the area that have engaged in similar renovations .

According to Boyce, these efforts to create a schematic design will culminate around June. Architects will then use the schematic design to create blueprints, which are in turn submitted to the state for approval. Construction will likely start around fall of 2017.