MVLA plans next phase of construction

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Rendering courtesy of Quattrocchi Kwok Arhitects
Architectural renderings reveal the design of a planned student services building at Mountain View High. The structure is meant to create a “front door to the campus,” according to one of the project’s architects.

With the construction of new classroom buildings well underway at Mountain View and Los Altos high schools, plans for the next phase of construction are taking shape.

Phase Two will involve constructing student services buildings at both high schools, an auxiliary gym at Mountain View High and a new campus for Freestyle Academy of Communication Arts and Technology. Detailed floor plans and architectural renderings for the structures are now complete.

All of the projects are being funded by the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District’s $295 million Measure E bond that voters passed in 2018.

The plan is to begin Phase Two in late spring 2021, once the classroom buildings are finished, and have the second stage complete in time for the 2022-2023 school year.

“It’s a pretty aggressive timeline, but that’s what we’re trying to push for,” said Mike Mathiesen, associate superintendent of business services.

To ensure there is adequate classroom and office space for students and staff during construction, the second phase can’t begin until the new classrooms are complete. The intent is to finish the classrooms by April 2021 so that teachers can move into their new rooms over spring break. However, Mathiesen said the coronavirus pandemic adds greater uncertainty, on top of the perennial problem of wet winter weather causing delays.

Student services

The student services building on each campus will be two stories and house a variety of programs and departments under one roof. That includes administrators, academic counselors, mental health therapists, a college and career center, conference rooms and a student union space. At Mountain View High, a cafeteria and kitchen also will be included in the building.

The new buildings will go roughly where the current administrative and counseling buildings are on each campus. At both high schools, architect Eddie VanSlambrouck said the goal is to create a sense of entry, or a “front door to the campus.”

Los Altos High’s campus currently has buildings of various styles, and VanSlambrouck said the intent was to incorporate elements of different structures, while also helping to move the campus into the future. The student services building will use some of the same design concepts as the new classroom building.

The buildings at Mountain View High are more alike, many sharing the same type of low-slung roof. To help integrate the new student services building into the campus, plans call for it to feature a long, sloping roof connecting both floors of the structure.
“There’s a much stronger cohesion between all the buildings at Mountain View,” VanSlam-
brouck said. “We still wanted to try to do something a little bit new, but we tried to take that context much more into consideration in the design.”
The student services buildings on both campuses include a student union – a new feature for both schools. It’s meant to be a gathering space for students, where they can eat, study, work in groups and socialize during breaks.

At Mountain View High, the dining area, lobby and student union are all connected and either can form one larger space or the dining area can be sectioned off.

Mountain View’s design includes a new cafeteria and kitchen, while the current one will be turned into a choir room and drama classroom. According to Mathiesen, the existing cafeteria is poorly configured, and its location near the theater makes it a good choice to become a dedicated space for choir.

Los Altos currently has a specially designed space for choir, while Mountain View has been using a doublewide classroom.

Although Mountain View is getting a new cafeteria, there are plans in place to upgrade Los Altos’ existing setup.

Mountain View High will be getting a new auxiliary gym in the second phase of construction. That project is currently being completed at Los Altos High as part of the first phase, because it is adjacent to the new classrooms.

At Mountain View, the new gym is being built on a portion of the existing tennis courts, but the courts will be reconfigured so that the same number of courts remain.

Freestyle Academy

Freestyle Academy, a two-year program that gives students the opportunity to learn about various multimedia video, design and audio formats, is also going to be getting a new home. Freestyle is currently housed in portables behind the district office, which will be replaced with a specially designed campus in the same location.

“Right now, they’re operating out of some modular buildings that have been around for a while, so I think the idea is to really give them a campus that is specifically tailored to their needs,” VanSlambrouck said.

The campus will include a recording studio, photo studio and film room. The single-story buildings are arranged around a central plaza where students can congregate and work on projects.

A two-story design had previously been contemplated, but after the plans came in approximately $7 million over budget, the district opted for a one-story layout.

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