Stanford Middle School



J.L. Stanford Middle School

480 E. Meadow Ave.

Built in: 1953, 1955, 1965, 1972, 2003, 2013

Total Site Area:

26.2 Acres

Building Area/Misc. Circulation


Parking Area


Hard-Court Play Area


Turf Play Area


Building Area:                         109,452 SF

Existing Classroom Size:          768 to 1,400 SF

2018/2019 Enrollment:           1131


J.L. Stanford Middle School is composed of ten single-story buildings on the 26 acre campus.  The campus is adjacent to both Hoover and Fairmeadow Elementary Schools, as well as Mitchell Park. 

The original buildings in 1953 included 3 classroom wings, the Administration, Library, Cafetorium, Gymnasium buildings and a shop building.  An expansion of the campus included construction of a new classroom wing and an addition on the Library wing. A new math and science wing were constructed in 1972, along with expansions to the Admin, Library and Gym.  Two further classrooms were added in 1972.

During the Building for Excellence Program in 2001-2003, all buildings were modernized with new finishes, roofing, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.  The total renovation was done in lieu of replacement of the facility as planned in 1996.

In 2013, and Strong Schools bond project constructed a new two-story classroom wing that consisted of ten new classrooms. The project also included considerable sitework to upgrade drainage throughout the site, add outdoor eating areas, a new amphitheater and improve circulation and landscape areas. The project also included some minor renovation work to the existing buildings, mostly to add sinks to the classrooms. Two science labs were also added to the campus.

To accommodate growth, the six interim classroom portables that were installed for the 2013 project were retained on campus, and remain on site today.

Needs Summary

Proposed, Master Plan projects include the following:

  • Reconfigure the existing multi-purpose building to create a more efficient and integrated complex with the food service functions and the performing arts program.
  • Replace the existing library with larger facility with additional support functions.
  • Remodel the administrative building for better use of space and function.
  • Create a wellness and meeting/conference area along with a larger staff room.
  • Upgrade the existing gymnasium including locker rooms and restrooms.

Below is a summary of needs communicated by the Site Committee and reviewed by the team for the J. L. Stanford site

  1. Standard Classrooms
  • Many of the existing classrooms are undersized or awkwardly configured and will required reconfiguration of the partitioning.  Many of the classrooms lack air conditioning and the technology upgrades which are district standard for new classrooms.
  1. Specialty 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 required. 
  • Media arts program needs better adjacency to the industrial technology classroom.
  • The industrial tech classroom needs better flow and supervision between spaces.
  • 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.
  1. Administration
  • The current layout for the administration areas lack the organization desired.  Additional conference and meeting spaces are necessary.
  1. Food Service
  • Kitchen and service area will be upgraded and better integrated with the multi-purpose room and central kitchen function.
  1. Site
  • Create better separation of vehicular and pedestrian circulation at the service areas.

Facilities Conditions

Architectural Review

JLS Middle School site is at a central and busy location in the City of Palo Alto. The site is accessed off East Meadow Dr. at two entry points. There is considerable traffic congestion at the beginning and end of the school day. The traffic issues were improved in 2003 with the bus and auto drop-off and pick-up areas at the parking loop in the front of the school which is off the main street. There is sufficient parking on site to fulfill the needs of the campus.

The major structures were constructed in the 1950’s. The subsequent additions have reflected the original style with covered walkways and rectangular layout. Except for the new two story classroom wing, the other classroom buildings are single story with low sloping roofs offset in height for clerestory windows and covered walkways. The exterior walls have a cement plaster finish.  The typical interior feature concrete slab floors with carpet or vinyl tile, gypsum board or plaster painted walls with some tackboard wall surfaces and ceilings being suspended acoustical tiles or direct glue on A.C. Tiles. The interior of most classrooms are daylit with clerestory windows and a large amount of north facing glass.

The conditions of the facilities are generally good and newly remodeled, the exceptions being the windows, wall coverings and insulation. In 2003, all of the buildings were modernized to district standards with interior finish upgrades, new cabinetry, new heating systems, lighting, electrical and technology upgrades. The roofing was replaced on all of the older buildings between 2001 and 2003.

Most of the issues relating to handicap accessibility have been addressed in the 2014 Strong Schools bond project. Toilet rooms, hardware and path of travel have all been addressed.

Civil Review

Storm Drainage

The storm drainage system at the school was completely re-done in 2014. There are no plans to make any further improvements in the near future.


The paved areas around the site were also replaced or new in 2014. There are no plans to make any further improvements in the near future.


The paved areas around the site were replaced or new in 2014, correcting any ADA or other accessibility deficiencies left over from the 2003 project. Restrooms have been updated to comply with ADA, except for the locker rooms in the Gym building and the pool area. There are no plans to make any further improvements to sitework but will be as part of a future gym and pool project.

Water Lines

Many of the main water lines across the site are the original underground cast iron, transite or galvanized lines, with a fair portion being replaced in 2014. A video taping of the existing system is recommended and a 50% replacement should be anticipated when it is appropriate. In 2003 all of the interior water piping in the remodeled areas was replaced.

  • Sanitary Sewer System

The main sewer lines across the site are the original underground piping installed when the school was constructed.  Due to its age and potential disruption it is recommended that these lines be video-taped and a 50% replacement of the system be anticipated.

  • Gas Piping

The gas service and meters were replaced in 2003 The gas lines internal to the site and building were partially replaced with the remainder being in good condition. No further replacement is anticipated. New seismic valves at the meter were also added in 2003.

  • Athletic Facilities

The site has extensive fields and hard courts. The fields are city maintained and are generally in good condition. The hard court areas were replaced in 2014. The bike care area was also replaced in 2014. The surface of the tennis courts is cracked and peeling, and is due for some repair. The top asphalt layer should be fully removed and replaced and a new tennis surface topping slab added. This process should include the replacement of the net standards and netting.

Structural Review

In 2003 each of the buildings remodeled included some upgrading to the structural system.  Dasse Structural Engineers, the Engineer of Record for the 2003 project provided this statement for JLS. “A full seismic upgrade of the buildings in neither intended nor required. This project consist of partial upgrades as indicated on the following plan sheets, to improve the resistance of seismic forces in the buildings. It represents the Engineer of Record’s judgment of life safety hazards only and the mitigation of such hazards. The work does not bring the buildings into full compliance with the current code.” This upgrading was voluntary and did not bring the buildings up to full current code compliance but did improve the life safety for its occupants. Building damage may occur during non-catastrophic 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. Additional rigid frames or shear paneling were added in selected buildings to improve their performance. There was extensive dry rot or termite damaged wood in some of the buildings that was replaced during the program. Little structural work was required to the older buildings as part of the 2014 project.

Mechanical Review

The campus has been equipped with a Syserco/Alerton Energy Management System and each building has been added to the system when modernized. Each classroom received a new heating system as well as updated systems for all other buildings on campus.

Plumbing Review

All of the plumbing fixtures and interior piping in the toilet rooms were replaced in 2003. Classroom sinks and drinking fountains with associated piping were also replaced. The main lines serving the systems were reused and not replaced.

Electrical Review

The site wide electrical system has been fully upgraded in 2003 and 2014. A new service was installed at the back of the Cafetorium. This included an increase in the site’s capacity. The fire alarm, clock/speaker communication systems have been upgraded at each building as it was modernized. Each building’s power capacity was upgrades as data and power outlets were added to each classroom.  All the lighting within the modernized buildings has been retrofitted or replaced with energy saving LED fixtures or lamps. Each building has been tied into a campus wide EMS system. Site lighting needs to be evaluated and upgraded. Some areas lack coverage and the fixtures are old.

Technology Review

The system has been upgraded under the last two projects. An MDF room was constructed for computer and telephone systems 2003 and all of the buildings were equipped an IDF and tied to the campus wide system. All classrooms modernized have the district standard data drops and wireless access point in each classroom. This network also incorporates the campus VOIP telephone system and Valcom clock/speaker system.

Building Envelope

The existing building envelope is the original design constructed in the 1950’s. Windows are single pane and insulation in walls and roof is old to non-existent in most areas. An energy analysis should be completed on each building and a plan developed and implemented to maximize energy efficiency in the envelope. An envelope analysis is suggested with the anticipation that insulation and window issues being addressed in conjunction with the addition of air conditioning to the existing classrooms.