Renovation at the Southeast Portland high school is heading into the home stretch

DAVID F. ASHTON - The statue of Benjamin Franklin has repositioned, and now overlooks construction of the sports area.
The major construction has been completed, on the campus of historic Franklin High School, but work continues in the renovation of the century-old school.

As THE BEE toured the campus in late November, Portland Public Schools Bond Communications Manager David Mayne pointed out the brick and masonry veneer exterior walls, which are are nearly complete, on the Performing Arts Building. Painters were hard at work in the main auditorium.

We walked through the new Career Technical Education/Maker-Space building, where the steel framing was up and windows were being installed. "Here in the new Student Center, all exterior brick has been finished, and all interior framing, mechanical, and plumbing systems have been completed," Mayne pointed out.

We couldn't look into the new Gym/Biomedical/Culinary Arts building – the new structure north of the old school – because that day it was locked. "We're expecting that entire building to be done before March 2017, including the installation of furniture and equipment," Mayne told THE BEE. "Unfortunately we can't use the facility yet because it is an active construction site."

On the perimeter of the campus, the new buildings seamlessly blended in with the existing main historic 1915 building – its bricks now cleaned, the clock tower restored, and all of the windows refurbished.

In the main building, the celebrated auditorium's sloping main floor had been leveled, making way for it to become the school's new Media Center. What will become of the proscenium arch and wrap-around balcony remains to be revealed.

In the main entrance, workers are preparing to rebuild a grand staircase.

Progress is most evident in the main building's remodeled west wing; what looked to be chemistry labs now had flooring installed, walls painted, and workbenches placed.

"On November 1st, school staff turned over the Franklin 'time capsule' for installation in the main building," Mayne said. "The time capsule was created by FHS student Shane Tavares, and is set to be opened in the year 2117."

He added that the project remains on schedule at budget. "Teachers and staff will start moving back from the Marshall Campus over the summer in 2017, and we'll be ready to start school here in September," Mayne said.

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