While Laurel and Encinal get ready for ribbon cutting ceremonies next Monday (8/23) and Oak Knoll is undergoing final preparations to start the school year (even as construction dust settles), students arriving at Hillview School next Tuesday will find a campus cut in half and a jumble of portable classrooms.
The grassy playing field, tennis courts and Tinker Park are gone, replaced by paved dirt and construction equipment. As of yesterday, workers were still adding wiring to the recently put in place portable classrooms that have been wedged into a former parking area. It’s not news to Hillview parents that the disruption will continue until the debut of a newly built school, targeted for December, 2011.
Menlo and Atherton residents who lived through the renovations of Laurel, Encinal and Oak Knoll can now watch as those who live near Hillview worry about the impact construction will have on their neighborhood. Their concern prompted a letter/email from Superintendent Ken Ranella earlier this month that contained both reassurances and warnings:
“The District intends to abide by the City of Menlo Park noise ordinance that regulates times for construction. Normal construction hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. from Monday through Friday. If extraordinary circumstances arise that require construction to exceed these times and days of the week, we will do our best to notify neighbors in advance. Please be aware that although the construction process will not begin until 8:00 a.m. we cannot restrict contractors and their employees from arriving at the work site prior to that time.”
Then there’s the parking issue, addressed by Superintendent Ranella: “Parking will be a challenge during the operation of school since it has been necessary to eliminate the staff parking lot adjacent to Santa Cruz Avenue and relocate portable classrooms. To mitigate the parking impact when school opens, the District is taking two actions. We will be requesting from the City of Menlo Park that “staff only parking spaces” (during school hours) be designated on the east side of Elder Street adjacent to the school. We will also be encouraging teachers and staff to carpool, take public transportation or, if possible, bike and walk to work.”
If you’re impacted by the Hillview School construction, Superintendent Ranella suggests that you contact the Menlo Park Elementary School District Construction Manager, Brenda Parella, at (650) 321-7140, extension 5616.