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Demolition begins at high school making way for sweeping remodel, part of bond building projects

OUTLOOK PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Workers tear into the auto shop at Gresham High School. About 70 percent of the historic school will be replaced throughout the next two years. Workers were demolishing the old auto shop at Gresham High School last week, one of the first steps in a major remodel that will transform the high school building in the next two years.

Inside the school, teachers have packed up their classrooms while workers move utility lines and strip down rooms so the parts of the school to be demolished can be taken down.

About 70 percent of the school will be replaced as part of the district's building program, funded by the $291.2 million bond school district voters passed in November 2016.

The auditorium and childcare center near the corner of Division Street and Main Avenue are scheduled to be torn down in July to make way for a striking new theater that will create an anchor at that high-profile intersection.

Principal Michael Schaefer said law enforcement agencies are using the shuttered parts of the school for several training exercises.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Some classrooms at Gresham High School have been packed up to prepare for part of the schools demolition. The historic Gresham High School at 1200 N. Main Ave. was built in 1939 and 1940 by federal Works Progress Administration laborers. The original part of the school was paid for with $133,000 in bonds. The cornerstone was laid at the main entrance on Dec. 9, 1940, when the school's enrollment was 880 students.

Other schools in the district will also see improvements from the bond money. In addition to the remodel of Gresham High, Barlow High School will receive an overhaul and a sports stadium. Hall and Hollydale elementary schools and Deep-Creek-Damascus K-8 will get new classrooms to ease overcrowding. All district schools will get safety and security upgrades.

East and North Gresham elementary schools are being replaced. Students will attend the old elementary schools as the new East and North are being built next door on current parking lots and playgrounds.

Once the new schools are finished, they will be torn down and new playgrounds and parking lots will be built where the old schools once stood.

For more information about the Gresham-Barlow 2016 school bond building program, visit gresham-barlowbond.org.

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