The Student Site of Castilleja School


The Student Site of Castilleja School


The Student Site of Castilleja School


Castilleja to keep students on campus during construction

Class of 2028 expected to graduate on new campus
Sara Flexer
The Castilleja administration expects the Class of 2028 to be the first to graduate on the renovated campus.

Castilleja’s acting head of school Kathy Layendecker and Board Chair Zac Zeitlin announced Oct. 5 that no students will be relocated “at any point during construction.”

In her email to the entire Castilleja community, Layendecker stated that construction will begin in June 2024, after the current school year ends. The city of Palo Alto set an enrollment limit of 416 students prior to the expansion, and this will remain the maximum number of students on campus until the renovation is complete.

Rather than keeping the 6th grade on the satellite JCC campus, the entire student body will be together on the Bryant Street campus. “[This] is the best way to keep our program and community strong,” Layendecker wrote.

This news comes after the school’s plans to move to a temporary campus at the College of San Mateo (CSM) fell short in May 2023. “I think it’s good that [the administration] was transparent about the construction process and setting expectations, since students deserve to know what is going on,” Claire Chien ‘27 voiced. “The CSM situation was kind of a bummer, though, because a lot of my friends left, partially due to the commute to San Mateo.”

During the 2024-2025 school year, classes will continue uninterrupted in the regular buildings while a parking garage is being built below Spieker Field.

Noelle Madden ‘25 reflected on the potential demolition of the softball field, which is a significant part of Spieker Field: “If they are demolishing the field, it will probably ruin my senior year of softball. I really want my senior night to be at our home field. But I hope the new campus is really good and that future Casti graduates are happy.”

Over the course of the following two school years, 2025 through 2027, school will be held within two stories of modular classroom buildings, an “academic village,” above the new garage. While the main campus is being remodeled, the gym and administration building will continue to be in use.

Despite this immense period of change, Layendecker stated that Castilleja is committed to maintaining “academic vibrancy, outstanding co-curriculars, devotion to traditions, and attention to the closeness and well-being of our community.”

“I would have rather gone somewhere else, even if it wasn’t convenient, just to have a normal high school experience, instead of being 20 feet away from a construction site,” Anna Kocher ‘26 said. “I think that [the administration] will try really hard to maintain the culture, but I think it will still be a bit different, as a lot of our traditions revolve around the Circle.”

“I hope this campus situation will allow our grade to connect and bond over something. Obviously, no one is excited about having to graduate at a construction site, but at Casti, we always figure something out so I don’t think it will be too bad,” Chien shared.

The Administration and Board of Trustees projects that Castilleja will begin transitioning to the modernized campus in 2027-2028, expecting the class of 2028 to be the first to graduate on the new campus. Enrollment may increase to up to 450 students once construction is completed.

“It’s really hard to think about the new campus when it’s really not going to affect our grade at all,” Madden expressed. “We made a really awesome speech about pasta bar [in class meeting], so I’m hoping that we make another one about the construction so that Kathy Layendecker stops the construction,” they added.

Chien voiced an opinion that many current freshmen and sophomores share: “I’m sad that we aren’t going to graduate on either the old campus or the new campus. We are kind of stuck in the middle. But I think it’s good that the school is getting the chance to renovate because they have been working on it for a while now.”

Kocher concluded, “I know that no one in our grade is probably excited about being on a field, but I think that it will help if everyone tries to bring more energy and make it feel alive. Try to appreciate the time we have there, even if it isn’t ideal.”

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About the Contributor
Sara Flexer
Sara Flexer, Editor of Features
Sara Flexer '26 is the Editor of Features for Counterpoint. This is her second year in journalism, and she enjoys playing tennis, forcing people to read her favorite books and making Pinterest boards instead of doing homework. She is obsessed with all things green: matcha, frogs, avocados, tiny cacti, you name it.

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