Students return to the classroom across Washington County this week, some to campus upgrades.

Hillsboro students are headed back to school this week — many of them to newly renovated buildings and campuses. STAFF PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Students in the Hillsboro School District are back in class this week.

Students at Reedville Elementary, Glencoe High and Hillsboro High schools will be some of the first to see changes at their schools this week, almost a year into the district's $408 million construction bond to improve buildings and campuses.

Over the next three years, dozens of projects will be completed across the district with the goals of improving safety and security in buildings, accommodating to future growth, and modernizing many of the decades-old facilities.

The biggest project of them all, however, is Brookwood Elementary, which is to be completely knocked down and rebuilt. The major construction is projected to begin next summer and be finished during the summer of 2020.

On Thursday, Aug. 30, students and parents visited Brookwood for the annual back-to-school ice cream social, with just two years left in the current building before the new space opens in 2020. STAFF PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Best friends Anakin Murray and Finn Rumore pose for a photo before beginning first grade at Orenco Elementary School on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

"We are all very excited to see kid's smiling faces, and the energy that comes with the beginning of the school year," Brookwood Principal Michelle Jensen said. "And it's (going to be) very exciting to have a facility that's up to date with the safety features and the technology. We are very excited to have a new building."

Brookwood kindergarten teacher Sommer Kirk said she is really looking forward to school being back in session this week.

"I'm really excited to meet my new kids," she said. "This is my second year (teaching), so I get to see my first group move onto first grade. I'm just excited for that community aspect of getting to see my kids come back and getting to meet a whole new group, and it's been a really fun week getting ready with staff. It's just going to be a really great year."STAFF PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Students in Julia Snyder's second grade class get settled and fill out a worksheet on the first day of school.

The first day of school for students in first through seventh grade, excluding Reedville Elementary, is Tuesday, Sept. 4, and Wednesday, Sept. 5 for students in grades eighth through 12. Kindergartners begin Thursday, Sept. 6.

Reedville start day delayed

Over the summer, Reedville Elementary underwent a $7.8 million upgrade to the 100-year old building, including security and seismic upgrades, new floors, remodeled classrooms, a new library, and improvements to its playground and roof. While most of the project is complete, the district has had to delay the first day of school for Reedville students by two days due to the construction. Students attending Reedville will begin Thursday, Sept. 6. The project is expected to wrap up in October.

In June, Glencoe High School received a donation from the Hillsboro Hops baseball team to build a new multi-purpose artificial turf field, lights and other improvements to Glencoe's athletic fields. The money — on top of an already designated $2.3 million from the bond — was used to build the new "Hillsboro Hops Youth Field" at the school. The field will be used not only for the Hops' youth teams, but also by students at Glencoe, from baseball to softball teams to the school's marching band, school officials said. The project will be complete Friday, Sept. 21, according to the district.

Across town, Hillsboro High School now has a lighted athletic facility consisting of a turf field and six-lane practice track, along with designated areas designed for field events. The project will be officially completed Thursday, Sept. 6. These additions will allow for the Spartans' track athletes to practice on campus instead of traveling daily to Hare Field. It will also permit home soccer and lacrosse teams to play on-site and later in the evening, rather than relying on afternoon start times or alternate locations due to lighting and weather.

Four elementary schools will also have new drop-off areas beginning this week. Ladd Acres, Eastwood, McKinney and Reedville elementary schools will have separate parent and bus drop-off areas as a result of the bond projects.

By Olivia Singer
Reporter, Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Follow Olivia at @oliviasingerr
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