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Private Hillbrook School in Los Gatos expanding to historic San Jose buildings

Los Gatos private school expands to historic San Jose location
Los Gatos private school expands to historic San Jose location 02:33

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) -- Downtown San Jose will soon be getting a new private high school which will be located in two historic buildings.

The Hillbrook School has been in Los Gatos for the last 85 years for elementary and middle school students. But the school wanted to expand as a high school and looked all over the Santa Clara Valley for space. It settled on downtown San Jose and two separate, but equally historic buildings for their high school campus of the future.

"One of the main attractions of this building is all the transportation options. You have light rail right in front, and then you have BART coming in," said School Board President Chuck Hammers.

The school is taking over the 1894 Moir Building on North 1s  t Street, and the 1933 San Jose Armory on North 2nd street.
Both have been vacant for years.

They will be transformed into Hillbrook's new high school campus with administration and classroom space and a gym inside the armory. Known as an exclusive private school in Los Gatos, Hillbrook says it wants to have the city be a part of the classroom.

"We are really excited to be in an urban environment which is truly diverse. It brings together the type of academic environment that we want our students to have," said Mark Silver, Hillbrook's Head of School.

"Downtown has an amazing amount of things it can offer a high school student. From starting an internship at Zoom or Google or do volunteer work and work with the non-profits," Hammers said.

The campus will be just on the edge of St. James Park, which has long been a placed for the unhoused to gather. It's in the middle of a redevelopment area that includes blighted buildings and newer homes.

One neighbor hopes the campus will help revitalize the area.

"I wish it were a public school, but private school is ok. It would just be nice to get something in here to spruce up these vacant buildings," said John Tucker, who lives around the corner.

Tuition for the new high school is unspecified but will likely be in the 50-thousand-dollar range. About a third of the students will be getting financial aid.

The school plans to start with a freshman class in the fall of 2023, and add new classes in later years. 

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