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A long-anticipated sports stadium is part of the remodel, school will get second story

OUTLOOK PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Local dignataries and students shovel the dirt at the groundbreaking Wednesday, June 6, for the remodel of Barlow High School. Under sunny skies, local dignitaries and members of the Barlow High School community took part in the Wednesday groundbreaking for the extensive remodel of Barlow High School and addition of the much-anticipated new sports stadium.

"This is truly a community project," Principal Bruce Schmidt said at the ceremony on the morning of June 6.

The renovation is funded from the $291.2 million bond district voters passed in November 2016. The bond also is paying for substantial remodels of Gresham High School and replacement of East and North Gresham elementary schools. Hollydale Elementary will get added classrooms and all district schools will receive safety and security upgrades.

RENDERING COURTESY OPSIS ARCHITECTURE  - A rendering of a new commons area to be added to Barlow shows where students will have a spot to hang out. Demolition and construction will begin as soon as students leave for summer break and continue until early 2020. As at the other schools being built and remodeled in both the Gresham-Barlow and Reynolds School Districts, students will continue to attend classes in the building as construction is underway.

"Congratulations to the Gresham-Barlow School District on the great job you're doing in preparing us for the future," said Lynn Snodgrass, CEO of the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce.

Snodgrass' two daughters graduated from Barlow, and she expects her seven grandchildren to do the same, the last poised for 2029.

The low-slung 49-year-old Barlow building is commonly regarded as architecturally unremarkable. Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis, a graduate of rival Gresham High School, noted as much when he said, "I'm just going to say it. This building is ugly."

OUTLOOK PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Ainsley Pate, Barlow student body president for 2018-19, told the crowd we are excited to see the transformation of this 50 year-old building to a modern learning space. In the remodel, designed by Opsis Architecture, Barlow will get a spiffy new two-story entrance and a second story will be added to much of the building at 5105 S.E. 302d Ave.

Some of the improvments include the following:

- The student commons areas will be expanded and remodeled, with floor-to-ceiling windows for natural light.

- A north student commons will feature a wide "stadium seating" stairway to a second floor, creating a place for students to gather.

- Study rooms are planned in the new upstairs commons.

- The metal and wood shops and career and technical education facilities will be redesigned and upgraded.

- A maker space is planned as are new areas to accommodate engineering and robotics learning.

- The auditorium will be refurbished and some classrooms will get an overhaul.

- A science wing with up-to-date science labs will be added.

- The new covered stadium will seat 1,500 Bruins on the home side and 500 fans on the visitor side and will have a concessions stand and other features.

Although Bemis is a Gresham Gopher through and through, he admitted he married a Barlow Bruin.

"I'm going to say something I thought I'd never say," he said. "Go Bruins!" OUTLOOK PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - School board member Matt O'Connell, Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis, board member John Hartsock and students put their backs into the groundbreaking.

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