Paly library to close this summer for renovations

    Paly plans to add a new computer lab, collaboration rooms, and more in the new library shown in the layout above. Construction will begin during the summer. Photo: Jevan Yu.

    Among the changes to the library is the elimination of the pass-through walkway from the Quad to the 800s building. Instead, the new guidance offices will occupy this space. Drawing: DLM Architects.

    Palo Alto High School students will enjoy access to yet another state-of-the-art facility in two years, as the highly-anticipated library renovation project is scheduled to commence this summer, according to librarian Rachel Kellerman.

    Kellerman said the “best case scenario” is that the library will be completed by the 2018-19 winter.

    The new library will feature a task-lit silent study room, which will facilitate focused work, and a makerspace, a “flexible” room that may include 3-D printers, according to Kellerman. Since all students will have Google Chromebooks by the time the project will be complete, the computer lab area will be smaller than before. There will also be an enclosed instructional area, designated collaboration rooms for small groups and a staff operation room, among other additions. The south end of the building will house the guidance offices as well as the College and Career Center, according to Kellerman.

    New furniture, such as updated high counter seating areas and book displays made to look similar to those at bookstores, will also be installed.

    “What we endeavor to do is think about how students work and how we can accommodate them,” Kellerman said.

    According to Kellerman, the construction crew will demolish the inside of the library during the renovation process and the provisional library will reside in the Student Center, with the adjacent portables (P3 and P5) serving as temporary storage rooms for books.

    “It’s not ideal, but this way we’ll keep our books safe and secure,” Kellerman said.

    The relocations of other rooms affected by the project are still tentative, according to Assistant Principal Jerry Berkson. As of now, the teacher copy room and ARC will move to the 400s building, the computer lab and ASB to the portables, and the English and World Languages teacher offices to the 300s building, he said.

    In the meantime, the library staff will encourage students to use the digital library resources, and Kellerman will also be visiting classes for instructional lessons.

    According to Kellerman, the Strong Schools Bond Initiative – a privately-funded organization that has financed all of Paly’s latest renovations except for the gym – will provide the money for the library project. Kellerman, however, doesn’t know the cost at the moment, as the project has not yet been bid.

    Sophomore Nisha McNealis is a frequent user of the library and, although disappointed about the timing, is looking forward to eventually gaining access to the new facility.

    “Even though I’d obviously rather have it done earlier, I think that the new improvements are important enough that I’m okay with waiting for a while and only having access to the complete library for a semester,” McNealis said.

    Some of the new features are going to be especially practical, she said.

    “The collaboration rooms will be really useful since I’m in debate and my teammates and I sometimes have practice rounds in the library,” McNealis said. “But it’s really loud and hard to focus with everyone else in the library.”

    Kellerman, too, is thrilled about the renovation project.

    “It’ll definitely be a sacrifice for all, but it’s so worth it,” Kellerman said. “It’s going to be really awesome and we’re really excited about it.”

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