Following multiple setbacks, Palo Alto High School administration will continue to move forward with plans to construct a new athletic facility, featuring two new gymnasiums, and continues to make progress in the construction of a new performing arts center.
According to Athletic Director Jason Fung, the timeline for demolition of the current gymnasiums will be set once the plans are approved by the School Board. Plans for the athletic facility have been sent for approval to contractor Vance Brown, according to Fung. The approval process was initially expected to be completed in mid-January but has experience delays. Once approved, the plans will be put up for bidding, which is expected to take 4-6 weeks.
The bid will finalize the price tag for the buildings. Demolition was initially scheduled for June 2014, following graduation, but was pushed back to September 2014 due to new estimates that nearly tripled the contribution from the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) to an estimated $12.57 million. The majority of the funding for the new gymnasiums comes from a $20 million donation by the Peery family, according to the Palo Alto Weekly.
The demolition date was later pushed back to March 2015 due to additional complications, however the date is expected to be pushed back further because final construction plans will be sent to the PAUSD School Board in March to be voted on at the earliest, according to Fung. The current gymnasium is expected to remain for the rest of the winter season.
The 85-year-old gymnasium was commemorated in a community ceremony held in March 2014, in anticipation of the earier demolition date.
For now, the Vikings will continue to practice and compete in the current gymnasium. Vikings are expected to utilize the Bow Gym at Henry M. Gunn High School during the construction of the Paly athletic facilities.
Across campus, students can see visible progress on the new performing arts center. The interior structure now towers over the quad. The completed theater is set to open in March 2016. According to Vice Principal Jerry Berkson, the construction is on track to meet the deadline.