Gunn High School

GUNN (01).jpg


Gunn High School

780 Arastradero Road

Built in:  1964, 2001-2006, 2008-2018

Total Site Area:

47.9   Acres

Building Area/Misc. Circulation


Parking Area


Hard-Court Play Area


Lawn Area


Turf Play Area


Building Area:                          213,986 SF

Existing Classroom Size           784 to 1600 SF

2018/2019 Enrollment:           1,982

Henry Gunn High School occupies an approximate a 48-acre site fronted by Arastradero Road. This site is owned and occupied by the school, but has a reversionary clause to Stanford University.

The school is composed of 15 permanent buildings constructed in 1964. These structures include; an Administrative Building, a student Activities Building, a cluster of four buildings for language and social studies instruction, a cluster of four buildings for math and science instruction, an Art Building, the Spangenberg Auditorium, a Business Education and Home Economics Building, an Industrial Arts Building and a Physical Education Facility.

Beginning in 2001, four phases of construction renovated most of the original buildings and constructed a new Library Building and a new Science Addition. Interiors for the Spangenberg Auditorium, Art, Administration and the old Library Building were not renovated, but the remaining building interiors were fully renovated under the Building for Excellence program between 2001 and 2007.

During the Strong Schools bond program, several new projects were constructed. Two new classroom buildings were constructed in 2012, and a new gymnasium (Titan Gym) was built. A renovation to the old MS buildings was completed in 2014 to convert old math classrooms to special ed classrooms. A new drop off and staff parking area was created off of Miranda Dr. also.

A project is currently in construction for a two-story building that houses Student Activities, a Wellness Center and five new classrooms located where the old Library used to be. Across a courtyard is an expansion to Spangenberg Theater, which includes an expanded lobby and new restrooms, two new music classrooms, and fire, life safety and ADA upgrades to both the Spangenberg Theater and Little theater. This project will be completed in early 2019, and includes considerable site improvements to the quad, entry plaza and new drop off area for the campus.

Needs Summary

Proposed, Master Plan projects include the following:

  • Addition, remodel and modernization of the administration wings.  Relocate the administrative services to the newly constructed entry forecourt side and convert the existing to the food service and culinary program.  Upgrade and expand the dining experience.
  • Replace the existing art building with a new facility that would include both new art studio classrooms, media arts program, and standard classrooms for growth.
  • Expand the existing Titan Gymnasium by adding a new weight room and team rooms.  Modernize and upgrade the existing Bow Gymnasium including new locker room and restroom facilities.
  • Complete the upgrade of Spangenberg Theater which started with the construction of the new lobby addition and new music classrooms.  Modernize and upgrade the house, stage and support facilities and add production lighting and av consistent with PAHS.
  • Enlarge the science building by adding two new lab classrooms and staff and student resource spaces.
  • Upgrade the football stadium and add a new concession building and field house.  Construct new soccer field with synthetic turf and lighting to the athletic fields.

Below is a summary of needs communicated by the Site Committee and reviewed by the team for the Gunn site:

  1. Standard Classrooms
  • Many of the existing classrooms are undersized or awkwardly configured and will require reconfiguration of the partitioning.  The older classrooms lack some of the technology upgrades which are district standard for new classrooms.
  • Double classrooms or two adjacent classrooms that can be combined into one larger is highly desirable throughout the campus.  New buildings have this feature which is very popular.
  1. Specialty Classrooms
  • The existing science building lacks adequate staff office areas, student resource area, as well as meeting spaces.
  • The existing library needs to be upgraded with project-based meeting rooms and productivity area.
  • The art building is awkwardly configured with access from one class through another.  The spaces are small and lack storage and natural light.
  • Flexible space for robotics and engineering curriculum is required.
  • The existing weight room is too small and needs to be larger to support the number of students and activities required.
  • CTE program needs more space to expand and existing classrooms are too small.
  • Upgrade the Spangenberg Theater to have the production lighting and AV like PAHS.
  • Locker rooms are small and awkwardly configured.  Additional support spaces need to be added to support the PE program.  Single occupant changing rooms are desired.
  1. Administration
  • The “front door” of the administration is hard to find and needs to be better identified.  The current layout for the administration areas lack the organization desired.  Generally, the spaces are too small with programs located in rooms never intended for that function.  Additional conference and meeting spaces are necessary.
  • The College and Career Center lacks a reception area where students can information as well as a large conference space to host speakers.
  1. Food Service
  • Expand capacity for food service.
  • Kitchen and service area needs to be relocated away from the new school entrance.
  • Student center to compliment the relocated cafeteria area and take advantage of the new location on the Quad.
  1. Site
  • Complete the vision of the previous Master Plan by removing the relocatable classrooms from the parking and completing the parking and school main entry/exit route.

Facilities Conditions

Architectural Review 

Henry Gunn High School was constructed in 1964; the campus is located on 48 acres. The campus is composed of fifteen buildings that were under the original construction and five new buildings constructed during the past Strong Schools bond.

All of the original buildings express the same mid-sixties style with mansard shingle roofs extending to covered flat roof perimeter walks. The exterior walls are redwood vertical siding and concrete columns in a uniform 14-foot grid pattern that ring the perimeter walls and form the outer edge of the covered walkway. The buildings are typically low one-story structures with the exception of the taller structures needed to house the Gymnasium and the Theater buildings. A campus-wide painting project in 2013 re-painted the campus and added accent colored trim theme to help wayfinding and identification of the individual wings.

The prevailing interior style in these older structures is painted plywood or gypsum wallboard wall surfaces, painted gypsum wallboard ceilings and carpet or vinyl tile flooring. The majority of the buildings have been remodeled to an acceptable level under the Building for Excellence program from 2001 to 2006.

The buildings renovated during the Building for Excellence (B4E) program were the 4 building cluster, the 4 building K Wing cluster (2004). The expansion and full remodel of the Science building, the expansion and rebuilding of the Art (A) Building. The buildings partially renovated were the Industrial Arts (IA) Building, the Spangenberg Theater Building and the Bow Gymnasium. The buildings untouched during the B4E program are the Resource Center (RC) Building –old library, Administration Buildings with outside eating area and he field house building at the north end of the track. 

The library building and science addition built in 2004 keep the original style of shingled mansard with wood siding and concrete columns in line with the 15 original buildings.

The new classroom wings, Titan Gym and the Spangenberg addition built during the Strong Schools bond are more modern, with plaster exteriors, single ply flat roofs or sloping metal roofs and considerably more windows around the perimeter. Also constructed during this timeframe was a new Aquatic Center and an addition to the Industrial Arts building.

Overall the school is well maintained and in good condition, especially after completion of the current project in the center of campus. The renovation work done the past 20 years has enhanced and upgraded the buildings and extended their useful life. Code deficiencies have been corrected as each building has been remodeled, though some remain non-compliant as codes have continued to change over time. Those with partial remodeling and those that have not been renovated will need further upgrading. Many of the standard classrooms within the original buildings (812 sf) are below the size standards recommended by the California Department of Education for high school classrooms. To obtain the state standards within the configuration of the existing buildings would be a major undertaking. Some of the existing classrooms would have to be eliminated to increase the classroom sizes within the existing structure. This would require additional buildings to replace the reduction in classrooms caused from the reconfiguration.  New classrooms built during the Strong Schools bond meet the standard at 960 – 1,000 sf.

The changing curriculum and teaching methodologies of this site should be evaluated to determine the best approach for maintaining this facility.

Civil Review

Storm Drainage

The storm drainage system at the high school overall is in good working order. Its capacity is sufficient to meet the needs of the site. The major lines on the school property were installed when the school was built in 1964 and the system has experienced little difficulty. The few problem areas noted in the 2008 master plan have corrected during the Strong Schools bond program.


The pavement areas around the site has been repaired and resealed within the past few years, though much of it is currently being replaced by the Central Building project. The parking area south of the tennis courts will need considerable repair and sealing once the portable classrooms are removed. There are numerous areas around the site where the asphalt curbing at the edge of the pavement is cracked, displaced and damaged beyond repair. These curbs need to be replaced. They serve as drainage diverters in some areas as well as defining the edge of the pavement areas. There are also some areas that need to be re-graded and overlaid to provide proper drainage eliminating the ongoing degradation of the pavement.

All of the pavement on the site should be considered for replacement or re-grading and overlaying within the next five years. There are plans to re-configure the main parking lot once the Central Building project is completed.


There are a number of access ramps on the site that were rebuilt during the first phases of the modernization projects under the Building for Excellence and Strong Schools bond programs. Remaining ramps and paths of travel will need to be addressed in the modernization of the buildings that have not been renovated during the past two bond programs. As the remaining buildings are modernized, the site will be in compliance with state guidelines. The past construction has provided sufficient accessible parking to meet state guidelines. 

Water Lines

New water lines have been brought to all of the new buildings constructed on campus plus most of the water lines internal to the buildings modernized under the Building for Excellence and Strong Schools bond programs have been updated. Further testing and video taping should be done to establish the overall condition of the system across the site and in areas not yet remodeled. Replacement of the older asbestos cement piping (ACP) is being done as it is encountered during new construction around campus.

Sanitary Sewer System

Records indicate that there has not been a replacement of the sewer system. The main lines across the site are the same ones that were installed 40 years ago, except for those installed during the Strong Schools bond program. There has been no history of problems with the system. All of the new buildings added have new systems that are tied into the old system. It is recommended that a videotape of the system be made to verify its condition to determine the need of replacement.  

Site Electrical System

During the Strong Schools bond program the existing service to the campus was upgraded at Substation 1 as part of the new two-story classroom wing project. Another service at the front of the campus was added during B4E off of Arastradero Road that provides power for the front half of the campus. The added capacity should be adequate to accommodate the 20 year build out in the 2007 master plan.

Structural Review

In general and based on the limited review of the buildings conducted in the Building for Excellence program, it appears that the buildings do not pose life safety problems. During each phase of that building program, the structural system of each building in that phase was evaluated and voluntarily upgraded. That upgrading did not bring the buildings up to full current compliance with the state building standards but improved the life safety of its occupants. As each of the other buildings is modernized, they should be fully analyzed and upgraded to the level that was established in the first phases of modernization.

During the Building for Excellence program each of the buildings remodeled included some upgrading the structural system. In most cases the roofing was changed and the roofs drains enlarged to provide better drainage off the roof system and dry rotted structural framing was replaced.

Mechanical Review

Each building on campus is equipped with its own heating and ventilation system. The buildings modernized during the Building for Excellence program had full system replacement. Each classroom was equipped with a new independent system. The systems installed were high efficient gas systems with full outside ventilation capability. All of the ductwork was replaced with fully insulated ductwork. New systems were equipped with an Energy Management System and each building has been added to the system when modernized. The buildings that need full replacement that were not under the last two programs are the Administration and Bow Gym buildings.

Plumbing Review

All of the plumbing fixtures in the modernized buildings were replaced in the past 20 years. In the buildings that were not modernized there are that need replacement and the toilet rooms remodeled for full access compliance. The buildings needing fixture replacement are the Administration wings.

 Electrical Review

The site wide electrical system has been fully upgraded under the Building for Excellence and Strong Schools bond programs. The fire alarm, clock/ bell and communication systems have been replaced this past year and each building as it was modernized or new to the campus was added to the system. Each building’s power capacity was upgraded as new data and power outlets were added to each classroom.  All the lighting within the modernized buildings has been retrofitted with LED fixtures or conversion kits. Each building is tied into a campus wide EMS system. Site lighting has been replaced by maintenance to new LED fixtures over the past several years.

Technology Review

The site-wide system has been upgraded under the Strong Schools bond program. A MDF room has been relocated in Building E prior to demolition of the Old Library Building (RC) and new fiber optic cable has been pulled to the campus wide system. All classrooms modernized have the district standard of nine data drops and a wireless access point. This network also incorporates the VOIP telephone system and a new Valcom clock speaker system.