Construction of new gym facilities begins

Old gym torn down, new facilities expected to be completed within 20-month period

The building plans for the new gym have been in the works for almost three years now, and it has just been torn down. Many Palo Alto High School students saw nothing but rubble as they walked past the area where the old gym used to stand tall.

This project is expected to take 20 months to build both a new subterranean big gym and a second smaller gym. This new complex is modeled after the Arizona State Gym and should be completed in April 2017.

There will be an above ground hallway connecting both gyms running parallel to the pool. The gyms and hallway will create a sort of perimeter around the pool. This new gym will have a larger weight room, modernized dance room and bigger locker rooms.

“This [new gym complex] is going to be like the MAC [Media Arts Center], like the new theater and like the new math and history classrooms,” bond project manager Bob Golton said.

The construction alone is expected to total $36.4 million, $13 million of which the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) is paying. Donors contributed the other $23.4 million for the completion of this state of the art complex.

In addition, there is a $1.8 million provision. Golton added that the district has never ran through a reserve provision.

“We believe that number is a very conservative number,” Golton said. “It is used to take care of unforeseen conditions and changes to design.”

According to one of the project managers, the pool will never be drained and is being treated with the right amount of chemicals for the duration of the project. Theoretically, the pool is usable during construction, but for liability reasons it has to be shut down.

This [new gym complex] is going to be like the MAC [Media Arts Center], like the new theater and like the new math and history classrooms.

— Bob Golton, Bond Project Manager

Many athletes who participate in aquatic sports such as swimming and waterpolo have expresssed frustration about having to practice off-campus at facilites like Gunn High School.

Some wonder why the district, with a $378 million bond program could not spare some of the money to be used for renovations on the pool.

According to Golton, the donors would not have accepted anything less than a $36.4 million complex.

“There would not have been a project if we had put up less than $13 million,” Golton said. “This is not a ‘we’ll give you $23.4 million do whatever you want with it.’ The donors were with us all the way through the design process.”

PAUSD has other projects planned, including expanding the science building and renovating the library which are expected to total almost $16 million, according to Palo Alto Online.