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New School Facilities Committee To Hold School Tours Aug. 3

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New School Facilities Committee To Hold School Tours Aug. 3
Posted on 08/01/2016
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The new School Facilities Ad Hoc Committee, created to study a $70.6 million bond proposal to pay for renovations at Presumpscot, Longfellow, Lyseth, and Reiche elementary schools, will take tours of Presumpscot and Lyseth schools on Wednesday, Aug. 3.

The tours are open to the public. The tour of Presumpscot, located at 69 Presumpscot St., will run from 5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. The tour of Lyseth, located at 175 Auburn St., will go from 6:45 p.m. to 8 p.m. The committee is expected to tour Longfellow and Reiche later this month.

The purpose of the tours is for the committee and the public to get firsthand knowledge of the needs identified at the schools and the ways in which the proposal currently before the committee addresses those needs.

“As the committee does its work, it's critical for the public to be with us every step of the way,” stated Mayor Ethan K. Strimling, co-chair of the ad hoc committee. “Participation from parents and caregivers of current and future students, as well the interested public, will only result in a better proposal. I look forward to their input.”

The City Council created the School Facilities Ad Hoc Committee in July to study the proposed Buildings for Our Future Initiative, which calls for renovations at Presumpscot, Longfellow, Lyseth, and Reiche elementary schools. The committee’s members are: Portland Board of Public Education Chair Marnie Morrione; board members Stephanie Hatzenbuehler, Sarah Thompson and Anna Trevorrow; Mayor Ethan Strimling; and city councilors Nick Mavodones, David Brenerman and Justin Costa. Strimling and Morrione serve as co-chairs of the ad hoc committee.

The district has been studying for years how to transform five aged and deteriorating elementary schools in the district into 21st century centers for learning. One of those schools, Hall Elementary School, is eligible for state funding. Portland voters in April approved spending $29.7 million to build a new Hall school on the existing site. All but $1.4 million of the bonded amount will be reimbursed by the state. If construction goes as planned, the new school should open in the fall of 2018.

In June, the school board authorized Morrione to request that the council act on the proposed $70,593,229 million educational facilities rehabilitation bond for the other four schools  – Presumpscot, Longfellow, Lyseth, and Reiche – and send it to Portland voters in November. Board members and parents say the renovations are necessary because the aged facilities are in urgent need of improvements to ensure that all district students have equal access to 21st-century learning environments that meet safety and compliance standards and their learning needs. The council voted on July 6 to create the School Facilities Ad Hoc Committee to review the proposal.

The committee held its first meeting on July 25, at which it took public comment and considered a list of questions and issues posed by city councilors and the public. The committee’s next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 30, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Portland City Hall. At that meeting, the project architect, Oak Point Associates, is expected to give an in-depth, school-by-school presentation of the proposed work, building off the information that committee members will have received on their school tours.

For more information, visit the School Facilities Ad Hoc Committee page on the city’s website, www.portlandmaine.gov, or click here.