Public gets preliminary view of Wilson High School's future
It's way too soon to start worrying about of whether Wilson High School should be remodeled or totally rebuilt should voters eventually approve a bond measure. That's according to Portland Public Schools, which is hosting a community forum on that topic Thursday, December 12 at 5 p.m. at Wilson.
A committee of more than three dozen members of the Wilson community has held three meetings to consider options for the 64-year-old building. Those with an interest in Wilson can see what concepts the committee members have come up with for "modernizing" the campus at 1151 SW Vermont at what is being called the Wilson Conceptual Master Planning Forum. (The exact location at Wilson is still to be determined.)
Among the options discussed are remodeling the current school and building additional classroom space or tearing down Wilson and building a new school. The committee also discussed the potential future of the swimming pool at Wilson.
Karen Werstein with PPS cautioned that while the Committee's work is important, there's a long road ahead before firm decisions about the future of Wilson and its pool are made.
"The CPMC (Wilson Conceptual Master Planning Committee) is just the first step to provide information to the (Portland School) Board about what a future Wilson might look like. There were four options that were considered by the(Committee). Their recommendation was to proceed with the option for a new building with pool," Werstein wrote in an e mail. "However, this is all very preliminary at this point and no final design decisions will be made. So any concerns about the pool are a long way off from being determined," she added.
When and if anything happens to modernize Wilson would depend on the school board putting a funding measure on the ballot in 2020 or 2021 and whether voters approve it. If such a measure passes, a Design Advisory group would consider the options already vetted by the citizen's committee. Werstein emphasized that committee members are advisors and not decision makers. "The CMPC is just the first step in the process of creating a new Wilson," she wrote.
Wilson graduate and Portland school board member Andrew Scott is slated to attend Thursday night's forum, as is Wilson's new principal, Filip Hristic, who oversaw a multi-million dollar remodeling of Roosevelt High School when he was principal there.
Wilson was originally built with money from a $5 million funding measure approved by voters in 1945. Construction began in 1954 and the school opened in 1956. In 1960 additional classrooms were added. Wilson is built on what was once the Fulton Park Dairy.
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