Menlo School has its origins as a military school, the William Warren School, begun in 1915 with an initial enrollment of 13 boys.
In 1924, Mr. Warren, the founding headmaster, sold the school to a group of interested parents who sought a fresh identity: thus the Menlo School for boys was incorporated and the military program dropped.
Three years later, in 1927, Menlo became a non-profit institution governed by a newly formed board of trustees. Around that time a two-year college was established as an integral part of the School. In 1949 the name was officially changed to Menlo School and Menlo College.
The School underwent a significant change between 1979 and 1981, when the Upper School, a boys’ boarding school, became a coed day school. During 1993-94, Menlo again experienced several significant changes intended to ensure its future as a successful independent school; chief among these changes was an increase in the Upper School’s enrollment and, in the Middle School, the change to a coed enrollment and the addition of a sixth grade.
The College and School formally separated on June 30, 1994. The School and College are now entirely independent entities, each with its own board, administration and faculty. While we continue to occupy the same 62-acre campus, each institution owns and occupies the land and buildings on its section of campus.
In the 1990s and the early 2000s, construction dramatically transformed the campus of Menlo School. Douglass Hall, which had been shut down after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, was renovated and renamed Stent Family Hall. It has become both the central administrative building—complete with a new school library and Upper School Student Center—and an architectural landmark in the larger Menlo Park and Atherton community.
In 1999 the Arillaga Family Campus opened to house the Middle School. In 2005 Menlo finished the new Upper School, two large classroom buildings around a central quad, and Martin Family Hall, a lecture and concert hall. All classrooms are equipped with advanced teaching technology, including SmartBoards.
The opening of a 54,000 square foot Athletic Center in 2010 provided the School with two independent courts and state-of-the-art facilities for weight training, fitness, dance, aerobics and martial arts. In 2012, the School opened the 40,000 square foot Creative Arts and Design Center, with 12 teaching spaces, central art gallery and digital design center. That same year, the Arthur Allen Whitaker Lab opened, with large spaces for hands-on work in robotics, applied science, engineering and biotechnology. Plans are under way to further develop the Menlo School campus with an improved Student Center along with our own dining hall facility, which will be known as the Menlo School Commons. Updates for this construction project can be found here.