The building opens for students in the fall and the kids were thrilled, calling it 'awsome'

OUTLOOK PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Troutdale Elementary School students get a look at their new cafeteria on a tour Friday, April 27. The Tigers will begin learning in the new building this fall.Students at Troutdale Elementary School got a peek at their new digs Friday and liked what they saw.

Exclamations of "whoa" and "amazing" accompanied their entrance into the building.

"It was awesome," said third-grader Eleanor after the tour.

Peyton, another third-grader, said, "I thought it was really nice and big."

The students, decked out in pint-sized Day-Glo construction vests, had to use their imaginations because the new school is framed on the inside, but does not yet have walls.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Troutdale Tigers come down the hall in the new school building and peek into future classrooms. The Troutdale Tigers cheerily called out "hellos" to the construction workers who smiled as they watched the parade of tiny scholars inspect their new home at 648 S.E. Harlow Ave.

The Reynolds School District is replacing Troutdale, Fairview and Wilkes elementary schools as part of a building program paid for by a $125 million bond voters approved in May 2015. Reynolds High School also was renovated and expanded. Other schools got safety and security upgrades.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Troutdale Elementary Principal Ed Krankowski fills in the students on what to expect on their tour.The day before the tour, several fifth graders from the leadership team met with project superintendent Jeremy Symolon from Bremik Construction to go over appropriate construction site behavior. Fifth-graders Aaron and Miles then briefed the group before their tour on the proper "Tiger traits," which include respect, responsibility, safety and kindness.

Among the tips were, "stay with your group at all times."

Students will go to their new schools this fall. All three are being built next to the current schools, where students are attending during construction. Students also attended Reynolds High School during that school's remodel and expansion.

The single-story elementary schools are being replaced with striking two-story structures that let in lots of natural light. Younger students will be taught on the ground floor and older students on the second floor at the three new schools.

The stairs and second story were a big attraction for the Troutdale students on tour.

The three elementary schools will have modern HVAC features, which will produce energy and cost savings and also make the classrooms more comfortable than the creaky older systems at the three schools. The schools also will feature low-maintenance polished concrete floors.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - The school is far from complete, but will be ready for students this fall. Once the new elementary schools are completed, the old schools will be razed, with playgrounds, ballfields and parking lots built where the schools once stood.

The design of the three schools fosters student team work. Four classrooms will cluster around an open commons area that the architects call a "kiva," a Native American word for gathering place. The kiva will allow students to work in groups or allow for one-on-one or small group tutoring and other special tasks.

The three schools will also have showers for families to use near the school food pantries and clothing closets. Washers and dryers also will be available.

The Troutdale students can hardly wait to start learning in the new facility.

"I loved it," said Kyra, also in third grade. "When we move in my mind is going to be blown."

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