Students will use the old buidling until fall of 2019 when new structure is ready for class

OUTLOOK PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - East Gresham Elementary School students led the groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, March 21, as some grown-ups looked on. Dozens of Gresham dignitaries gathered Wednesday to break ground for the new East Gresham Elementary School, the first of four major construction projects that are part of a $291.2 million bond Gresham-Barlow School District voters approved in November 2016.

"It's great to be a student at East Gresham," one youngster told the crowd, and she said she was excited that "we are going to have a heater that's quiet."

Another student thanked district voters "for voting for a new school."

In addition to the new East Gresham Elementary, North Gresham Elementary School also will be replaced.

Students will attend school in the old buildings for the 2018-19 school year, as the new buildings go up on the grounds. Then the old buildings will be razed over the summer of 2019, new playgrounds and parking will be installed, and students will go to the new schools in fall 2019.

Besides the new elementary schools, about 70 percent of the historic Gresham High School will be rebuilt, and Barlow High is getting major renovations including a new athletic stadium and facilities.

Hall and Hollydale elementary schools and Deep-Creek-Damascus K-8 will get 16 new classrooms to ease overcrowding.

The district is already using the bond money to improve safety at all Gresham-Barlow schools. The improvements limit where people can get into schools, upgrade emergency communications and install locks on classroom doors that can be locked from the inside.

District-wide, schools will also get repairs, upgrades in heating and cooling systems and various renovations to improve energy efficiency.

At East Gresham Elementary School, the district also is going to improve parking and student pick-up and drop-off infrastructure.

Gresham-Barlow Superintendent Katrise Perera said at the groundbreaking that once the building is up, the East Gresham students "will have a 21st Century learning environment."

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