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Portland high schoolers settle in to new digs after $158 million modernization project

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Students head back to Grant High School Wednesday, Aug. 28 for the first time in two years, after the campus underwent a remodel as part of ongoing PPS bond projects.Thousands of Portland students headed back to school Wednesday, Aug. 28, with some stepping foot on their new campus for the first time.

Grant High School reopened its doors to students and staff last week, after two years spent at the Marshall High School campus while Grant underwent updates to the facade and interior.

The smell of new wood still permeated the halls Wednesday as students were greeted by fresh paint, redone walls and entryways, new bathrooms and other classroom makeovers.

"It's pretty awesome, actually," Jake Roeder, a sophomore at Grant, said as he walked onto campus for the first day of his 10th grade year. "It's so modern in there now."

Roeder said he appreciated the updates and the chance to complete his high school years at a renovated campus, but other students were still making the adjustment.

"My first impression was like, wow, this kind of looks like a museum," Maiyan Wolley, a senior at Grant High, said Wednesday. "I don't know if I really like the glass classroom thing upstairs."

Wolley and others were still getting used to new bathroom layouts that offered a row of fully enclosed, single stall, gender neutral restrooms set in a seemingly open, high traffic environment.

Wolley said that while she appreciates some aspects of the redesign, the wash area lacked privacy.

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Grant High School students head to classes and assemblies in the remodeled campus during their first day back on Aug. 28. "The design of it makes me uncomfortable," she admitted. "That's just a personal thing."

For others, no amount of facelift could fix the fact that it's still a high school campus.

"It looks nice, and we actually have water now, but it's school, so I will never fully accept it," said sophomore Sophia Mattera.

Grant High School is the latest within Portland Public Schools to be remodeled using money from a 2012 school building improvement bond. PPS said the modernization project aimed to "completely reconfigure and update learning spaces with a focus on indoor environmental quality, sustainability and historic preservation."

The project came in at around $158 million and includes a new, three-story common area, redone bathrooms, a new library and athletic building, outdoor learning spaces, a teen parent clinic and other updates.

Other PPS high schools, including Madison High School, Benson Polytechnic High School and Lincoln High, also are set to be remodeled with bond money, although budgets and projected enrollment for each project have increased since the bond package was approved by voters.

Watch a video detailing the remodel here.


A grand opening ceremony at Grant High School is scheduled 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 7. Public tours of the new school will be available starting at 11 a.m., followed by an alumni basketball game at 12:30 p.m.

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