New science building ready for use

Arohi Bhattacharya and Benjamin Grimes

The new addition to the science building at Palo Alto High School is finally completed after months of construction, though it remains empty for the time being due to the prohibition of in-person learning from COVID-19. 

Following lengthy construction, the new addition to the science building is finished and ready for students when they return in-person. Instructional lead of the science department and marine biology teacher Erik Olah says the new classrooms are an asset to the school in part because of how spacious and airy they are. “Currently, we have four science classes being taught in portables,” Olah said. “We’ve added four new classrooms to the end of the previous science building, so we can take all the classes in the portable and move them to these new rooms.” Photo: Benjamin Grimes

The disruption from COVID-19 in 2020 caused a partial setback in the building’s construction, which was originally anticipated to have been completed over the summer, according to Assistant Principal Jerry Berkson.

Erik Olah, Instructional Lead of the Science Department, said the purpose of the expansion of the science building was to shift the four science classes in the portables to the new rooms.

“We just had an overcapacity of science classes and we ran out of space really quickly,” Olah said.

While the proposition and blueprints of the addition were in the works for about eight years, construction didn’t start until a year ago, according to Olah. 

Olah also said that one of the special additions to the new addition is a biotech space in one of the rooms, specialized for a possible biotech course that may be introduced in the future.

“We have it [the biotechnology course] on the books, but we haven’t run it in a few years,” Olah said. “But there’s a room where we have a side room with materials and things that are going to be available for that biotech class.”

Olah said that as a Marine Biology teacher himself, he is looking forward to being able to teach in a new, spacious environment for the next school year.

“It’s really nice,” Olah said. “There’s more space; there’s new furniture; there’s big windows; there’s high ceilings, and the teachers in those rooms are going to be really happy.”

The school also anticipates renovations on the Tower Building, which is currently in the “design development phase and will proceed into the construction documents phase soon,” according to the Board of Education’s agenda.