The Primary School, a free private school backed by Priscilla Chan, wife of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is planning to construct a 76,000-square-foot building that will serve as a school and health center in East Palo Alto.

The school just completed its first full year and is temporarily operating out of the Ravenswood Child Development campus. School leaders unveiled for the first time last week renderings of the plans during a community meeting. The campus will sit on 3.5 acres of land on Weeks Street near the East Palo Alto Baylands.

The school serves low-income students and their families from East Palo Alto and the Belle Haven neighborhood of Menlo Park.

The renderings show a rooftop playground for students, an 11,000-square-foot gymnasium and several play yards and recreation areas.

An overhead map of the proposed building, which will be built on 3.5 acres of land off Weeks Street in East Palo Alto. The school will have capacity for 511 students (K-8). (Tonya Mosley/KQED)

The color scheme, according to Studio Bondy Architecture, is inspired by the changing colors of the Baylands. Twenty-five percent of the building would serve as a community space for adult-learning classrooms, a meeting space for parents, and a parent education library. 

During the first community meeting, some residents expressed concern over increased traffic, and the accessibility of the school for other students, who don’t qualify as low income. City planners said there will be at least two additional community meetings for residents to give their input into the plan.

A rendering of the proposed 76,000-square-foot expansion site of The Primary School. The school will have capacity for 511 students (K-8). (Tonya Mosley/KQED)

In June, the school held its first graduation ceremony for 51 preschoolers. This coming school year, it will welcome 150 preschoolers and serve an additional 100 infants and toddlers. The ultimate goal is to provide on-site health care services and education to 511 students and their families from birth through eighth grade. The school partners with the Ravenswood Health Clinic to provide health services to its students.

There is still a long way to go before the new school campus becomes official. The plans must first go through a city environmental review and traffic analysis this fall and winter. The East Palo Alto City Council will vote on the plan sometime in 2018.

An overhead map of the proposed building, which will be built on 3.5 acres of land off of Weeks Street in East Palo Alto. The school will have capacity for 511 students (K-8). (Tonya Mosley/KQED)

Note: This post has been updated to clarify the number of students expected to attend the school in the fall. 

A Sneak Peek at Plans to Expand the Priscilla Chan School 26 July,2017Tonya Mosley

Author

Tonya Mosley

Tonya Mosley is the senior Silicon Valley editor for KQED based out of San Jose. Prior to KQED, Tonya served as a television reporter & anchor for several media outlets, including Al Jazeera America and KING 5 News in Seattle, WA.

In 2015, Tonya was awarded a John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University where she co-created a workshop for journalists on the impacts of implicit bias and co-wrote a Belgian/American experimental study on the effects of protest coverage.

Tonya has won several national awards for her work, most recently an Emmy Award in 2016 for her televised piece “Beyond Ferguson” and a national RTDNA Unity Award for her public radio series “Black in Seattle.” She was named “Journalist of the Year” by the Washington Association for Justice for her reporting on the Seattle Police Department’s handling of a murder investigation.

You can reach Tonya at: tmosley@kqed.org.

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