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Eagles will fly into new nest this fall, playgrounds and parking lot will go where old school stood

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Workers tear down the old gym at East Gresham Elementary School. The new East is almost finished next door. Dust is flying as the old East Gresham Elementary School is being demolished while construction nears completion on the new school going up next door.

By Wednesday, July 17, workers had already torn down the school's main entrance and a classroom wing, with giant machinery tearing apart the old gym. There southernmost classroom wing will meet the wrecking ball next.

As soon as the East Eagles left for summer vacation, construction workers came into the 1950-vintage school to remove asbestos and items that could be salvaged.

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Here is a pile of debris from a classroom wing that has already been demolished with the final classroom wing to go down in the background. Demolition began in earnest in early July and should be finished by mid-August. After the old East is demolished, playgrounds, ball fields and parking lots will be built where the old school once stood.

Like other new elementary schools in the area, the low-slung, single-story East, at 900 S.E. Fifth St., is being replaced with a two-story structure.

The new building has already suffered vandalism — a brick front wall and doors were sprayed with white and blue paint graffiti. Workers will remove the taggings as they complete the building in time to receive students in September.

The construction is funded with a $291.2 million bond school district voters passed in November 2016.

Other schools in the district are also getting upgrades from the bond money. North Gresham Elementary School is being replaced, and Gresham High School and Barlow High School are being expanded and remodeled. Barlow also is getting a much-anticipated sports stadium.

Hall and Hollydale elementary schools and Deep-Creek-Damascus K-8 are getting new classrooms to ease overcrowding. All district schools received safety and security upgrades.

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Demolition on the old East Gresham will be finished by mid-August and parking lots and playgrounds will be installed where the old building once stood.

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Vandals have already tagged the new school with spray paint.

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