Madison High School gets groundbreaking ceremony before closing for two years
Madison High School students soon will be shuffled into Marshall High School, as the Madison campus undergoes a two-year remodel.
Portland Public Schools welcomed the onset of the forthcoming construction project at Madison, with a groundbreaking ceremony that was held Saturday, May 18, at the Madison campus. The high school remodel is the first in a series of remodels that Portland Public Schools is embarking on, using $790 million in bond funds approved by Portland voters in 2017 to update four schools in the district. District officials have since admitted the $790 million won't be enough to cover the projects promised to voters in 2017.
The Madison campus was built in 1955. It's nowhere near the oldest campus in the district, but it still needs some TLC, district leaders say.
"We'll come back to a bright and shiny new home," Madison Principal Petra Callin said Saturday.
Saturday's guest speakers included U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Kent Bottenfield, a 1986 Madison grad and former Major League Baseball player for eight teams.
Madison is set to close for two years during the modernization project, which is expected to begin after school lets out for the year in June. During that two-year timeframe, Madison students will be housed at Marshall — which also served as a temporary school for Grant High School students while their school underwent a modernization project. Grant students are expected to go back to their remodeled campus this September.
Before that, the Marshall campus housed Franklin High School students during that school's remodel project, which wrapped up in 2017.
"This is a really diverse school and these students deserve a modern (building)," Julia Brim-Edwards, school board member, said of Madison on Saturday after digging in to a mound of soil on the school's lawn with a ceremonial golden shovel.
As planned, the high school will see more than 170,000 square feet added to the campus footprint, including a new theater, gym and commons area.
Tracy Bowles, a 1997 Madison alumna, welcomed the project. She said her 8-year-old daughter, Ryan, is on track to be a third generation Madison High school student. Bowles' mother graduated from the Northeast Portland high school in 1973.
"We're part of the boundary change, so we're very excited," Tracy Bowles said Saturday, reviewing renovation plans in the halls of her former high school. She noted that her daughter would have ended up attending high school somewhere else if not for a boundary change approved by the district.