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The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

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New landscaping changes take shape


A science plaza is under construction, which can fit an entire science class for outdoor activities, according to Assistant Principal Jerry Berkson. – Grant RaffelStudents may have seen construction around campus in recent days – it’s all part of an ongoing campus improvement project. Current projects include a plaza area near the science building and new landscaping in multiple places around campus. Construction should be finished in the next few days, according to Assistant Principal Jerry Berkson.

The science plaza will be a memorial area with plaques, according to Assistant Principal Kathie Laurence. It will replace the memorial garden that was displaced by the new portables on the quad, Laurence said.

The science area will lack the diversity of plants that characterizes a traditional garden, but will instead serve as a type of plaza or square, Berkson said.

Berkson noted that the science plaza will act as a sort of outdoor classroom and enable teachers to do activities outside with their classes.

“It [the science plaza] should be able to fit a whole science class,” Berkson said.

Instead of using asphalt in the science plaza, the school is experimenting with a new permeable material that allows water to seep through it. This material should allow for better drainage than the asphalt covering the rest of the campus, according to Berkson.

“We are experimenting with a permeable material, and if all goes well, we could put it in other places on campus,” Berkson said.

In addition to the science plaza in front of the science building, new landscaping is underway all around campus, including behind the science building. After cutting down two large trees, crews are planting new smaller ones and re-sodding the area.

According to Berkson, these improvements are just a part of the big picture.

“This is part of the master plan,” Berkson said. “Once the math and social studies buildings are up, more work will be done there. Also, when the media arts building is up, there will be a lot of work to do there. It was just a good time [to do this] because these are basic jobs that can be done quickly.”

Another planned change is to move back the fence between the pool and small gym toward the batting cages so there is a grassy area for the swimmers. This will allow for increased landscaping, according to Principal Phil Winston.

Recent excavations near the theater are related to the broken heating system. Berkson hopes these renovations, too, will be finished in the next few days.

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