Project Update

Many of the buildings on our campus have not been renovated since the 1960s, which is why we are seeking permission from the City to build new learning spaces that will last for generations while better integrating with the aesthetic of the neighborhood. The Master Plan includes replacing four existing buildings that have outlived their useful lives with new, sustainable energy-efficient learning spaces; bringing our swimming pool and deliveries below grade to reduce noise; and relocating drop-off and pick-up to a new underground garage. 

We have also asked to increase our enrollment in the high school by 25-27 students per year for four years. This request is contingent upon keeping daily car trips to campus below a City-determined limit by expanding our Traffic Demand Management (TDM) plan. Our incredible success with TDM has shifted our school community away from relying on single-occupancy cars, making it possible to educate more students on our campus without creating more traffic in our neighborhood. 

The City of Palo Alto released a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), a document that marks the culmination of years of study related to Castilleja’s proposed campus modernization project. This review is required by the California Environmental Quality Act for all construction projects that take place in the state of California, and outlines any potential impacts that may arise from the project as it is currently proposed.

We are pleased that the DEIR validates the central aspects of our proposal and affirms it is 100% compliant with the City’s Comprehensive Plan. The DEIR supports Castilleja's current TDM program and proposes further steps to allow for an enrollment increase without increasing daily peak trips to campus.

Underground garage is supported over surface parking because it is

  • increasing green space
  • compatible with neighborhood needs and aesthetics
  • allowed in R-1 neighborhood
  • improving bicycle safety

LEED Platinum environmental measures surpass Palo Alto’s sustainability goals with

  • Energy efficiency - on-site solar, heat recovery, renewable credits
  • Water conservation and reuse
  • Fossil Free - outside of science labs

New design is more compatible with the surrounding neighborhood

  • Materials blend with residential feel of neighborhood
  • Overall height and setbacks are equal to or less than existing structures
  • Proactive noise mitigations will reduce the school’s neighborhood impact (e.g., moving the swimming pool below grade, limiting events on weekdays before 8pm, eliminating events on Sundays).

At the same time, the report indicates significant impacts resulting from the redistribution of traffic. We are currently reviewing the findings in order to understand the analysis and begin to explore solutions. We remain committed to working through the City’s process to arrive at the solution that achieves our objectives while mitigating the neighborhood impacts.

 

The release of the DEIR is followed a 60-day public comment period. We ask our supporters to submit comments about the report in writing to Castilleja.expansion@cityofpaloalto.org or to:

Amy French, Chief Planning Official
Planning & Community Environmental Department
City of Palo Alto, 250 Hamilton Ave, 5th Floor
Palo Alto, CA 94301

Comments may also be submitted in person at the Planning and Transportation Commission (PTC) meeting scheduled for August 14th at 6pm. After public comments are submitted, the City will develop and prepare its response in a document called the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR). This report will be submitted to the Palo Alto Planning Department and Palo Alto City Council for final vote.

You can find the entire DEIR here.

Be sure to check this page for updates on Castilleja’s proposal throughout the remainder of this process.

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