Parkrose breaks ground for new middle school

What’s all that digging, behind the Rossi Farm barn? Take a look at the new school that’s being built across the street from Parkrose High …

Parkrose School District Board Members, and folks from the community, attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the all-new Parkrose Middle School.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Although there was a relatively small turnout for the ceremony, those who attended the groundbreaking for the new Parkrose Middle School in outer East Portland on May 29 were certainly enthusiastic.

This new facility is part of a district-wide upgrade of Parkrose School District’s facilities.

Parkrose Schools Superintendent Dr. Karen Fischer Gray shows plans for the new facility. Read about how the Parkrose Educational Bond has been put to work across the district: CLICK HERE.

“We’ve been working so hard to craft, design, and build this facility,” Dr. Gray told East Portland News. “This is a monumental day, as we begin the process of building a new middle school for our Parkrose kids and families.”

Gray said she thinks the oldest part of the current middle school – originally called Fremont School – is close to 50 years old. “The new school is going to be a brand-new, state-of-the-art, two-story, technologically-advanced – and green!  A ‘LEED gold certified’ building. We’re all very happy about that!”

Parkrose School District Superintendent Dr. Karen Fischer Gray praises the efforts of volunteers to pass the bond measure that funds the new school’s construction.

During her opening remarks, Gray commended, “So many people worked so hard to make this happen.

“In May, 2010, a very interesting time to pass a bond anywhere – voters provided $64 million for facility improvement projects in the district, as well as for building a brand-new Parkrose Middle School.”

He looks forward to touring the school, once it’s built, says Parkrose School District Board President Dr. James Woods Ph. D.

Parkrose School District Board President Dr. James Woods Ph. D. stepped up to address the group of 40 people attendance at the mid-County gathering.

After recognizing individuals in the audience for their contributions to the project, he said, “I’m most looking forward to touring the school for the first time, with the children, when it opens.”

“Nuts and bolts guy” Board VP Ed Grassel says he appreciates the forbearance of the construction staff who answer his questions.

“This is the result of work of numerous people – so many people, you could fill a football field with them,” said Parkrose School Board Vice President Ed Grassel.

“Hundreds of people are involved in this process. Because of the designers, and with input from the parents, community and staff, this is going to be a wonderful, exciting marvelous structure that will serve our students for the next 50 years.”

Grassel continued, “As Karen [Gray] says, I’m a ‘nuts and bolts guy’; I like engineering. I’m so thankful for the group of people who have been responsive to our questions and concerns. They’ve helped us answer all kinds of crazy questions. They been very tolerant of our sometimes very-naïve viewpoints, and help us along the way. I just wanted to thank everybody – you know who you are.”

Board Member Alesia Reese remarks that the new school positions Parkrose to provide a good education for generations.

“This is a watershed for the Parkrose School District,” exclaimed board member Alesia Reese. “This puts us not only in position for the next generation of students, but for the generation after that.

“This is not about our children, or our grandchildren,” Reese said. “This facility is for our great-grandchildren. We are preparing education for the future history of Parkrose, not just for today.”

With soil turned by their shovels, these officials signal that the construction of Parkrose Middle School is underway.

By the first of July, the officials predicted, the foundations for the new Parkrose Middle School will be in place.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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