Frank Greene Jr. Middle School
Greene Middle School
750 N. California Ave.
Built in: 1937, 1950, 1960, 1964, 1973, 1991, 2004, 2013
Total Site Area:
Hard-Court Play Area
Turf Play Area
Building Area: 114,046 SF
Existing Classroom Size 820 to 1600 SF
2018/2019 Enrollment: 1,057
Greene Middle School is made up of 11 single story buildings on a 19-acre site adjacent to the Garland site.
The original construction in 1937 included the Administration/Library wing, the Cafetorium, Gymnasium, Shop building, and 4 classroom wings. An expansion in 1950 added 3 classrooms and a shop classroom to existing buildings. The music building was built in 1960, and further additions and remodeling took place in 1964. The Cafetorium was rebuilt in 1973 after a fire in 1971. After closing in 1985, an extensive renovation of all classrooms was undertaken in 1991 prior to re-opening the school as a grade 6-8 middle school.
In 2004 the school classroom spaces were again modernized with new finishes, lighting and heating systems. The Cafetorium and Gym were seismically upgraded and the lockers and showers were renovated. The Administration and Library areas were also renovated.
During the Strong Schools bond in 2013, a new classroom wing (Bldg N) with six classrooms was built near the Middlefield parking lot, and a new Cafetorium was built adjacent to the old Cafetorium building. Extensive renovation in other areas of campus included new Music classrooms in the area of the old Cafetorium, new Art classrooms in the old Music building and two new science classrooms in Building G. The project also included renovations in the Gymnasium and site improvements to improve drainage and hardcourt areas throughout the campus.
Proposed, Master Plan projects include the following:
Replacement of Building F and H with new classroom buildings to standardized classroom sizes, increase quantity, eliminate double loaded corridor configuration and enhance visibility by creating a central, supervisorial quad.
Relocate food service functions from the edge of the campus to a more central location so that students can take advantage of the proposed quad for lunch activities and the supervision is easier.
Replace the existing library with larger facility with additional support functions.
Remodel the administrative building for better use of space and function.
Upgrade the existing gymnasium including locker rooms and restrooms.
Renovate and upgrade the existing swimming pool.
Below is a summary of needs communicated by the Site Committee and reviewed by the team for the Greene site:
Many of the existing classrooms are undersized or awkwardly configured and will require reconfiguration of the partitioning. The older classrooms lack air conditioning and the technology upgrades which are a future district standard for new classrooms.
The existing science building is too small and needs additional classrooms and support spaces.
The art building needs to be modernized with minor program adjustments.
Flexible space for industrial technology and hands-on curriculum is limited and more spaces required.
Special Education rooms are small and non-functional and need to be enlarged and reorganized.
The support spaces for the gymnasium, locker rooms, restrooms, storage and PE classrooms, need to be reconfigured and remodeled. Spaces are inefficient and no longer consistent with the current curriculum and program needs.
The Food Classroom is outdated and needs to be upgraded to meet current program needs.
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.
Kitchen and service area needs to be relocated to a central location away from campus perimeter for better accessibility and supervision. A new lunch shelter on the quad will complement the new location on campus.
Reconfigure the main parking area to increase parking count and provide a more efficient drop-off and pick-up activity.
Create better supervision throughout the campus by eliminating many of the spaces between buildings and interior corridors that students are not allowed to enter during lunch break.
Greene Middle School site is housed at a busy location in the City of Palo Alto along one of its main circulation arteries. The main site parking area is off Middlefield Road, which has caused some congestion at the beginning and end of day traffic. Most of the traffic issues have been resolved with the bus and auto drop-off and pick-up area at the parking loop in the front of the school off N. California Ave. The main issue with the parking is that during events on campus the parking is on the opposite side of the campus from the main activity areas of the Gym and Cafetorium. During each event the public has to cross through the campus to reach the activity.
The buildings on the campus present various styles relative to the era that they were built. The major structures were constructed in the mid –1930’s and present a modified art-deco style of that era. The subsequent additions have reflected the boxy style and covered walkways of the original but have little style of their own. The buildings are single story rectangular buildings with relatively flat roofs and perimeter parapet walls. The exterior walls have a cement plaster finish. The typical interior hallways/ rooms feature concrete slab floors with carpet or vinyl tile, gypsum board or plaster painted walls with some old tackboard wall surfaces, suspended acoustical ceilings or painted direct glue-on acoustical tiles.
The conditions of the facilities are generally good in the renovated buildings of the Building for Excellence (B4E) Program, the exceptions being the windows, wall coverings and interior cabinetry. During the B4E program all of the buildings sitewide have been modernized to various standards. The Gymnasium and new Cafetorium had previous deficiencies that were addressed during the Strong Schools bond program.
Most of the issues relating to handicap accessibility have been addressed in the past two building programs. Toilet rooms, hardware and path of travel were all addressed, but there remain some isolated areas that are not in compliance with current code. These deficiencies should be addressed as more buildings are renovated in the future.
The storm drainage system at the school overall is still a challenge, given the City’s infrastructure. During the Strong Schools bond program the Civil engineer’s began to address the campus drainage problems in Plans were developed for the replacement of the existing system but unfunded and not constructed. The problem with the existing system extends to the subsurface piping capacity and its tie into the existing city system. The on-site piping is clogged and the city system that the site drains to can not take the flow from the campus. The city at this time does not have plans to upgrade the capacity of their system. The revisions needed for a new system are estimated to cost in the range of $500,000. This system as of 2000 includes retention of the storm water on site and pumped gradually into the city system.
The paved areas around the site contain numerous cracks and most areas need to be replaced. Some areas have subgrade problems as evidenced in the surface alligatoring. Standing water over the years has and will continue to degrade the surfaces and structure of the paving. The standing water in part, is caused by the back up of the existing dry well system that is overloaded during downpours. In many areas tree roots have lifted the surface and these areas require removal and resurfacing. Repaving of the paved area should be done when the drainage problems are being addressed.
There were a number of handicap parking spaces added and access ramps built during the first phases of the modernization projects under the Building for Excellence program. The past construction has provided sufficient parking to meet state guidelines. Each building when modernized was required to meet current accessible standards. Access has been developed to all areas of the campus and all of the site toilet facilities are accessible.
A new main water line across the site was installed in the late 1990’s. During the B4E program all of the interior water piping in the remodeled areas was replaced. There are still some areas of underground branch water lines that were not been replaced that are old enough to need replacement in the near future.
Sanitary Sewer System
During the first phase of the B4E program the main site sewer line was re-lined. This work included some cleaning of some of the lateral lines. Historically there were a number of problems with the system that were corrected during the Building for Excellence program. The majority of the lateral system that ties into the main line is old and could need replacement in the next ten years. It is recommended that the piping be videotaped to verify its condition to determine the need of replacement. Do to its age, some replacement of the existing piping should be anticipated.
The gas service and meters were replaced under the Building for Excellence Program. The gas lines internal to the site and building were partially replaced with the remainder being in good condition.
In general and based on the limited review of the buildings, it appears that the buildings do not pose life safety problems. During each phase of the last two programs, the structural system of each building being renovated was evaluated and voluntarily upgraded. This did not bring the buildings up to full current code compliance with the state building standards but improved the life safety of its occupants. Building damage will occur during seismic events. In most cases the roofing was changed, roof diaphragms re-nailed and the roof drains enlarged to provide better drainage off the roof system. In some buildings there was extensive dry rot or termite damaged wood that was replaced.
The major structural upgrade occurred in the gymnasium building the tallest on the campus. Wall stiffening of the north and south window walls was completed to increase the seismic capability of the building.
During the 2014 Strong Schools bond project, no seismic improvements were necessary in the buildings that were renovated.
The majority of the heating systems on campus are feed from the boilers located at the back of the campus in Building ‘H’. The boilers were replaced and controls updated under the Building for Excellence program. There is another boiler located in the Building ‘C’ that serves this building and Building ‘G’. This boiler and controls were also replaced under B4E.
The hot water piping for the heating system served from the boilers in Building ‘H’ was replaced in 1976. This replacement did not include the replacement of the insulation. The insulation needs to be replaced to reduce the heat loss from the boilers to the unit ventilators and air handlers. All of the individual room systems were replaced and the main air-handling units were replaced or re-furbished throughout the campus. The campus has been equipped with an Energy Management System and each building has been added to the system when modernized.
Under the Building for Excellence program all of the plumbing fixtures and interior piping in the toilet rooms of the modernized buildings was replaced. There are various sinks and drinking fountains around the site that are serviced by old piping. These may need to be changed in future interior remodels.
The site wide electrical system was upgraded under the Building for Excellence program. A new service was installed behind Building ‘H’ at the back of the campus. The service point at the front of the school was replaced and upgraded. These installations included an increase in the site’s capacity. Each building’s power capacity was upgraded during that program to add data and power outlets added to each classroom. All the lighting is in the process of being retrofitted with LED fixtures or conversion kits. Each building has been tied into the campus wide EMS system. Site lighting needs to be evaluated and upgraded. Some areas lack coverage and the fixtures are old.
The sitewide system has been recently upgraded. A new MDF room was constructed in the mezzanine level of Building ‘H’ and all of the buildings have been tied to the campus wide system. All classrooms modernized have the district standard of nine data drops in each classroom, but only new classrooms have wireless access points. This network also incorporates the VOIP telephone system.
The existing building envelope represents the original design and is not energy efficient except for the buildings renovated during the Strong Schools bond project, and the new classroom building (Bldg N). Windows are not dual pane and insulation in walls and roof are old to none in most areas. An energy and envelope analysis should be completed on each building and plan developed to maximize energy efficiency.