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New Hall School Topic of School Board Workshop

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New Hall School Topic of School Board Workshop
Posted on 10/20/2014

PORTLAND, Maine (Oct. 20, 2014) – This past spring, Portland’s plan to replace Fred P. Hall Elementary School was placed on the state’s Major Capital Construction Approved Projects List, making the project eligible to receive state funding. Now, at a workshop on Tuesday, Oct. 21, the Portland Board of Public Education will discuss the process and critical milestones that need to be met for the building project to proceed.

The workshop will be held immediately following the board’s business meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. in the gymnasium of Hall Elementary School, located at 23 Orono Road.

Replacing Hall is expected to cost more than $20 million, according to a study done by Oak Point Associates, an architecture and engineering firm hired by the district. Oak Point will present a proposed timeline to the board Tuesday. The timeline calls for State Board of Education concept approval next June; a November 2015 public referendum to ask voters to approve state funding for the project, as well as any locally funded items; a May 2017 construction start date; and potential occupancy by September 2018.

The timeline is dependent on the 21-step process the Maine Department of Education (DoE) requires for review and approval of school construction projects, broken down into four phases. Oak Point Associates will review the timeline at the workshop.

Hall is a one-story building located within walking distance of Sagamore Village. Built in 1956, the school has ponds on its roof after rainstorms, rotting wood siding and sills and some building materials that contain asbestos. Hall had an electrical fire in September 2012 that required the entire school to move elsewhere for two weeks. Traffic flow also is a concern, as is compliance with certain Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

“Replacing Hall is a top priority for our district,” Portland Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk said. “We are eager to move into the planning and design process.”

The Portland Public Schools has conducted several studies over the past 15 years to identify deficiencies in the district’s elementary schools that detract from student learning.  Improvements have been made in phases in order to lessen the impact on taxpayers and disruptions to teaching and learning.

During the past seven years, the district built two new schools with state funding – East End Community School (2006) and Ocean Avenue Elementary School (2011) ­– and renovated and added to Riverton Elementary School (2007) with local funding. Last year, the district launched Buildings for Our Future to address significant needs at the remaining mainland elementary schools. The goal is to ensure that all elementary students attend schools with safe environments designed for academic excellence and 21st century learning.

To view the school board's agenda, click here.