Local High Schools Build New Classrooms

Posted on August 22, 2013 by  
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The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District officially opened three new classroom buildings in preparation for the arrival of 3,800 students this week.

Voters approved the district’s Measure A construction program in June 2010, an initiative designed to accommodate enrollment growth. The incoming freshman Class of 2017 boasts 1,000 students.

In anticipation of a 500-student increase from 2010 to 2019, Los Altos High School added 12 general-education and art classrooms and repurposed existing art classrooms into science classrooms.

Mountain View High, with projected enrollment growth of 300 students from 2010 to 2019, added nine general-education and three physical science classrooms in two buildings and renovated two physical science classrooms into biology classrooms in the existing science building.

Both schools seek U.S. Green Building Council LEED Silver certification for features that include high-efficiency lighting and mechanical systems, superior natural lighting, superior acoustics, sustainable building products, native landscaping, bioswales to control storm runoff and solar panels on roofs. Kramer Project Development Co. Inc. managed the project, designed by Sugimura Finney Architects, with Linda Mao serving as project architect.

Construction began in May 2012 and is scheduled to complete on time and within budget. The Citizens Oversight Committee worked with the district throughout the planning, environmental impact report and construction phases to ensure that the district’s performance on the bond program met the purposes specified in the ballot language.

“The quality of these buildings is a direct result of the collaboration between our architects, staff and consultants and the tremendous dedication of Kramer Project Development,” said Joe White, associate superintendent of business services for the district.

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A Charming Remodel

Posted on August 15, 2013 by  
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818 Carmel Ave, Los Altos, CA 94022
Listed at $1,595,000 / Sold at $1,725,000
3 Bed / 3 Baths / Home: 1,727 sqft / Lot Size: 5,687 sqft +/-
Single Family Detached
Represented: Seller

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Peninsula Symphony’s New Season

Posted on August 14, 2013 by  
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music-conductor131959338pcPeninsula Symphony recently released details of its 2013-2014 season, featuring premieres of new music from Ron Miller, Jonathan Russell and Taylor Eigsti as well as classics from Handel, Brahms, Beethoven and other composers.

The Los Altos-based symphony has slated performances October through May at the San Mateo Performing Arts Center; Cupertino’s Flint Center for the Performing Arts; and Bing Concert Hall on the Stanford University campus.

Music Director Mitchell Sardou Klein returns as conductor and maestro for the 65th season.  Featured guest artists include pianists John O’Conor and Eigsti, cellist Nathan Chan, clarinetist Russell, baritone Stephen Saxon and saxophonist Dayna Stevens.

The symphony is scheduled to open its season on Oct. 25 in San Mateo, with a second performance set for Oct. 26 in Cupertino. The program features pianist O’Conor and the Masterworks Chorale. Works include Grieg’s “Piano Concerto” and Beethoven’s “Choral Fantasy.”

The second program of the season, featuring Ernest Bloch’s “Concerto Grosso No. 1” and “Sacred Service,” on Nov. 22 & 24 at Stanford. Guests include Saxon, pianist Juliann Ma and the Stanford Symphonic Chorus. Stephen M. Sano serves as the guest director.

Eigsti, a jazz pianist and composer, headlines the symphony’s third program on Jan. 17 in San Mateo and Jan. 18 in Cupertino. Eigsti will play Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” and other works as well as his original compositions.

The symphony’s next program, “The Fountain of Youth,” is slated for March 21 in San Mateo and March 22 in Cupertino. The program will feature works by young composers and solos by young artists. Cellist Nathan Chan, 19, is set to solo, as is clarinetist Russell.

The closing performance of the season, Brahms’ “Symphony No. 4,” is scheduled for May 16 at the San Mateo Performing Arts Center and May 17 at Flint Center. Violinist Lee will make her Peninsula Symphony debut, performing a concerto with the symphony.

For more information on the season and the symphony, visit peninsulasymphony.org.

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Start Your Engines: Red Racer Hobby Shop

Posted on August 8, 2013 by  
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red racerMeasuring 18 feet long with more than 72 feet of racing laps, the custom-made slot-car track nestled in the corner of Red Racer Hobby Shop looks like a speedster’s dream. Christened the Adobe Creek Raceway, the trackway sports gray lanes, faux grassy hills and technology to measure the slot car’s speed.

Children go crazy when they see it, according to manager Martin Chavez.  That is, if they haven’t already been pulled to the opposite end of the store to the LEGO construction zone or the far corner stocked with Eitech toys.

The concept store, which opened in July at 170 State St. in Los Altos, is another establishment from the H&H Co., which also owns The Makery next door and several other downtown businesses.

“Red Racer is a hobby shop with an interactive twist to it,” Chavez said. “We have the traditional hobby stuff, but everything is engaging and interactive so that kids learn to use the toys.”

Unlike other hobby shops, Red Racer is not heavily stocked with ready-made items; instead, rockets, quadcopters, R/Cs and circuit kits line the shelves.

Some of the highlighted items are the Eitech toys, motorized German-made metal building sets. The cool thing about the Eitech sets, Chavez explained, is that children can create the original design provided by the manual and, if they choose, dismantle and re-create an entirely new object. They mimic the purpose of many of the toys Red Racer has stocked – customization in pursuit of creativity.

Other features of the hobby shop include two interactive centers – the slot-car racing track and the LEGO construction zone with a wall that stores blocks organized by color and size. Racers can try their hand at the slot-car track, though they’re cautioned to approach it as they would a real car – decelerating into the curves and zipping on the straightaways. For $5, customers can purchase a “pit pass” for 15 minutes in either zone.

Chavez said Red Racer is concentrating on fulfilling its philosophy to provide toys and activities that go beyond the “temporary gratification” of action figures or plastic diversions by encouraging innovation. The limitation to the creation is how much time the players want to invest, he said.

Red Racer Hobby Shop is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. For more information, call 383-5078 or visit redracerlosaltos.com.

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Pinewood School Hosts Enrichment Program

Posted on August 1, 2013 by  
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SCHOOL_PeninsulaBridge_fmtThe school year has long surrendered to summer, but classes are still in session at Pinewood School.

The Pinewood Upper Campus in Los Altos Hills welcomed a new batch of middle-schoolers for the summer, hosting the seventh- and eighth-grade summer component of the Peninsula Bridge program.

Peninsula Bridge, a donor-funded nonprofit organization, collaborates with local schools to provide tuition-free academic enrichment for motivated students from under-resourced communities.

Pinewood opened its campus for the program last year for the first time.

“They wanted to expand, and we were looking for a summer outreach program to participate in, so it worked out,” said Bonnie Traymore, Pinewood’s site director.

The program is volunteer driven. Pinewood students and alumni serve as teacher assistants (TAs), and instructors from Pinewood and other local schools are hired to teach.

The high school students who volunteer to assist in the program play an important role in the program’s mission of setting middle-schoolers on a path to college, according to Traymore.

“We want to infuse them with a college-going mindset and culture,” she said. “Having the TAs going through the college application process, or having gone through it, gives the kids role models that they can respect and try to follow.”

The volunteers said they enjoy the teaching experience as well, contributing significant amounts of their summer to the program.

“I really like seeing how they start out in the beginning and how they end up,” said Chloe Robinette, a two-time Bridge volunteer, of students in the program. “In the beginning, they’re hesitant to even raise their hands or put in effort. But in the end, you can just see that they really value working hard. I love seeing their confidence just skyrocket.”

For more information, visit peninsulabridge.org.

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