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PE to invade Math Department as construction comes to a conclusion

Published January 28, 2014

With the math, social studies and media arts construction projects coming to a close and the demolition of the current athletics facility about to begin, Palo Alto High School is preparing to make departmental rearrangements, according to Principal Kim Diorio.

The construction of the new media arts and shared social studies and math buildings is estimated to be completed by Spring Break, according to Principal Kim Diorio. Once these buildings are finished, the English, Social Studies, Math, and Physical Education, and Science Departments and the library will set moving plans in motion. The two buildings will be newly furnished, generally featuring innovative and ergonomic designs. Photo by Lizzie Chun.

The construction of the new media arts and shared social studies and math buildings is estimated to be completed by Spring Break, according to Principal Kim Diorio. Once these buildings are finished, the English, Social Studies, Math, Physical Education and Science departments and the library will set moving plans in motion. The two buildings will be newly furnished, generally featuring innovative and ergonomic designs. Photo by Lizzie Chun.

The Physical Education Department will move into the current math building due to the demolition of the gyms, which will start June 1. The Math and Social Studies departments and media arts classes are making plans to relocate to their two new respective buildings, according to Assistant Principal Jerry Berkson.

While there is no definite finish date for the construction of these buildings, the departments tentatively expect to have the opportunity to transfer belongings during Spring Break, according to Diorio.

Additionally, the media arts, social studies and math classrooms will be newly furnished, according to English Department Instructional Supervisor Shirley Tokheim, math teacher and Facilities Steering Committee member Arne Lim and Social Studies Department Instructional Supervisor Jaclyn Edwards.

Math and Physical Education

The Math Department intends to begin moving out first in order to accommodate the gym equipment and PE departmental switch into the current math building, according to Lim.

The current math building will house the interim PE locker rooms, classrooms and weight room during the athletics facility construction. The center of the building will serve as the training room, according to Diorio.

Lim also noted that while the end date of the construction of the new buildings has yet to be determined, it will play a major role in the logistics of the interdepartmental move.

“It does take a while to physically move a whole bunch of stuff from one place to another because not only do you have to move it, but you have to move it in the correct order,” Lim said. “The order of operations [of the move] is important, to give it a math term. But in terms of a timeline, that’s a little bit nebulous.”

Located on the second floor of the building, which will also house the Social Studies Department, the Math Department will have to make special considerations concerning furnishing, according to Lim.

“If we do not have carpet in our rooms and we move our desks around, the ground floor will hear us,” Lim said. “So what will make the least amount of noise? Rollers? … Sleds? We don’t know. You never thought you had to think about these things, but you have to be considerate.”

Media Arts

Moving the media arts classes is also high up on the moving to-do list in order to benefit students, particularly The Campanile staff and seniors, according to Diorio.

“There’s also a sense of urgency with journalism, with trying to get as many journalism classes into the new building so that our senior journalists can enjoy it before they transition out, but also for classes like [The] Campanile,” Diorio said. “It [The Campanile] is a big class in this one little space, and it’s not really working. [The] Campanile and the Math Department are the two top priorities to move in, just in terms of what’s best for students and that future planning piece.”

The current video production room will be used as the temporary dance studio. While the InFocus studio will eventually be remodeled to better meet building codes and regulations, the room will be left as a hangout spot for the Paly Rocks club in the meantime, according to Diorio.

The English Department will hold a meeting to determine the future use of the soon-to-be vacated journalism classrooms once the move is more imminent, according to Tokheim.

The media arts center will also contain more modern and ergonomic furniture, including standing desks and exercise bicycle desks, to better suit students’ and teachers’ needs, according to Tokheim.

“The desks that we’ve had in our buildings are decades old,” Tokheim said. “They’re attached to the seats, are not very accommodating for lots of different sizes of students and are not very flexible in terms of moving quickly into groups or separating and moving into a circle. They’re very cumbersome.”

Furthermore, these new furniture additions are influenced by the changes in the business world, according to Tokheim.

“People are incorporating standing desks into their workspace,” Tokheim said. “They can walk super slowly and work at the same time so they’re not sitting. Sitting is not very good for you if you do it for long periods of time, and if it’s not good for adults, it’s definitely not good for students.”

While some classes may be able to use the building after Spring Break, students will not have access to technology by that point.

The grand opening of the media arts building is set for August.

Social Studies, Science and the Library

The Social Studies Department is not on as strict a time table as the Math Department or media arts classes but also hopes to begin moving belongings into the new combined math and social studies building once construction is complete, according to Edwards.

The library, which will undergo renovations after the the new athletics facility has been finished, will use the current social studies building for storage of the less popular books and as a temporary library. The building will have a silent study room and computers available for students to use, and the library plans to move items during a summer period to minimize disruptions for students, according to librarian and FSC member Rachel Kellerman.

There are no formalized plans for the social studies building after the library moves out, other than it being a “swing space” for miscellaneous departmental needs, according to Kellerman.

Because the portables area will be used for new science classes, some social studies teachers will also have to move from the portables into the social studies building, according to Diorio.

The Social Studies Department also plans to incorporate fresh furniture designs.

“We are looking into desks and chairs that are innovative, multi-functional and conducive to learning,” Edwards said.


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