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Students, community celebrate newly remodeled Reedville Elementary School with assembly, open house

STAFF PHOTO: OLIVIA SINGER - JoAnne Shuman and Mary Frantz, who took a tour of Reedville Elementary School Thursday, were students at Reedville Elementary School in the 1950s. One of the Hillsboro School District's oldest buildings is looking refreshed, after a voter-approved major reconstruction of the building wrapped up last fall.

The nearly century-old Reedville Elementary School, 2695 S.W. 209th Ave., has long been considered a significant part of the community's history. While the building was in desperate need of a remodel and renovations, both the district and project coordinators did their best to preserve much of its history, while blending it with the new.

Community members got a look at the new and improved facility during an open house on Thursday, Feb. 7.

"I think it's amazing," Mary Frantz said, who attended the school from 1952 to 1960. "I love that they've kept Reedville so fresh in the community and I would hate to see it ever go away. ... Many people love this school."

The school has a new parking lot, a new modular building with a cafeteria and five extra classrooms, new floors, furniture and lighting, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning units in each classroom, an elevator, a new media center with upgraded technology including projection whiteboards and 80 new Chromebooks, a new playground with a turf square, building safety upgrades and much more.

Frantz rode in the new elevator with fellow classmate JoAnne Shuman, in awe of the changes made since they attended the school many years ago.

"We were all farm kids, we lived in the area," Frantz said. "I rode the tractor to school or my horse and then we got a bus when I was in second grade, so we have a huge history. It's the best school."

Reedville is the first of many major construction projects planned across the Hillsboro School District to be completed, after voters approved a $408 million bond in 2017. STAFF PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Construction began in the spring of 2018 with the bulk of the work taking place last summer, including the demolition of several old portables.

"The board and the district had a great value around preserving this community," said Hillsboro School Board member Kim Strelchun. "I think a lot of times, people think of old, small schools as they are no longer needed, (but) for us it was really at the heart of this community, and so it's really important for us for this school to feel like the heart of the community and to look like the heart of the community."

While preserving the history was important to many, it's also important that students at the school have as modern of an experience as other students in the district who attend newer schools, Strelchun said.

"Modernizing it was a huge value that we had so that the students here are having an equitable experience to students all around the district," she said. "It's amazing. The architects and construction team did a really good job of blending new things with old so that it sort of seems seamless and kept the character of the old building."STAFF PHOTO: OLIVIA SINGER - The school also boasts a new playground and turf area for play.

Over the next five years, the district plans to rebuild Brookwood Elementary School and construct two new schools in North Plains and South Hillsboro.

Reedville Principal Robin Farup-Romero said none of the work would have been possible without the 2017 bond.

"I think that, in itself, just shows the investment in our schools throughout the whole district," Farup-Romero said. "What it's done for kids at Reedville is it has really elevated the learning environment with both the aesthetics in terms of having new flooring, and new cabinetry and air conditioning, (and) it's really giving them that message they now have the (same) access to technology."

Contractors say the project was no easy feat, but it turned out to be very successful.

"I think it's turned out great," said John Abel, a contractor with Cornerstone Management Group. "It was the first major project of the bond and so it was kind of the highlight from the start and the biggest project of the summer, so we had to get going fast. … It looks amazing, we won't say it was easy, it was a very difficult, challenging project."

The challenges gave the construction teams a better idea of the obstacles they might face working on other old buildings in the district, Brandon Flint, vice president or operations for INLINE Commercial Construction said.

"It was very challenging, we ran into a lot of unforeseen conditions, (it's) a building that was built in the 1920's, but working with the district and the teachers here, it was just a whole team effort that got it done," Flint said. "Not to say it was an easy project by any means, but the team atmosphere and everyone working together is really what made it successful."

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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