Update on Parkrose school-building programs presented to business group

Find out why the Parkrose School District Superintendent is asking folks to circle May 29th on their calendars …

Past President Mark Eves of Mark W. Eves, PC, and current President Michael Taylor, Superintendent of the Riverdale School District, were selecting a great hot lunch from the buffet, at this meeting of the Parkrose Business Association.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Businesspeople and guests attending last month’s regular meeting of the Parkrose Business Association (PBA), held at the Holiday Inn Airport on March 21, learned about upcoming festivals – and got a progress report on the work taking place, funded by the Parkrose School District bond measure.

Sean Cruz of 1000 Nations talks up the “Jim Pepper Native Arts Festival”, scheduled for August 7-10, to be held Parkrose High School.

After the Pledge of Allegiance was recited, and announcements were made, Parkrose School District (PSD) Superintendent Dr. Karen Fischer Gray took the podium as the featured speaker.

Parkrose Building Bond update
“Let me tell you about the work we’re doing in the district,” Gray began, referring to the $63 million school bond which was narrowly passed by Parkrose residents in May, 2011.

“Obviously, I’m excited!” Gray continued. “It’s really cool; but it’s a lot of work. Working [to get construction plans approved] with the City of Portland is really – interesting. And, I am one of the 11 commissioners on the Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability Commission.  I’m amazed at all the hoops you have to go through to get something built.”

Parkrose School District Superintendent Dr. Karen Fischer Gray says she’s excited about the results from the building and remodeling program.

Gray announced that renovation work at the Prescott School had been completed. “It is beautiful, and looks wonderful; we’re taking people on tours.”

The initial remodeling work at mid-County Shaver Elementary and Russell Elementary schools has also been completed, she added.

Sacramento Elementary School is getting a substantial remodeling, Gray reported. “It’s getting a brand-new office in front of the building. And we will be remodeling some of the classrooms. The old portable classrooms will be gone, thank goodness – they were falling apart.

“Russell, Shaver, and Sacramento are each getting a 5,500 square-foot multipurpose room. It is state-of-the-art, and gorgeous. Each room will contain a community space. They’re getting two classrooms, bathrooms for boys and girls, and a kitchen. We want the community to use these buildings. You paid for them, you should use them.”

Although these additions are new construction, Gray noted that they match the design of the original buildings. And, the multipurpose room additions are “very obvious, they’re front of the school buildings.”

Dr. Karen Fischer Gray shows the aerial plan for the new Parkrose Middle School.

Parkrose Middle School is a $43 million project, out of the $65 million total, said Gray.

“It is designed to be completely different from anything you have ever seen before. And it is really good for kids. It is on the same footprint of the old middle school, only slightly to the south. The old middle school will be used while we build the new one, so the kids will not be displaced, except for three portable classrooms.

“This is because there is a portion of the south-facing eighth-grade wing that has to be demolished. “So, there will be three portable classrooms out by the tennis courts, it’s nice and flat there.”

Dr. Gray announces the ceremony to mark the beginning of construction for the new Parkrose Middle School complex.

Announces May 29 groundbreaking
After the new Parkrose Middle School has been constructed, the old building will be razed.

“I’m like, in the moment – let’s move!” Gray said. “But there is some sentimentality around some of our schools. So, when we have our groundbreaking on May 29 at 5:00 p.m., those who would like to come to ‘say goodbye’ to ‘Fremont School’ – which is now part of Parkrose Middle School – feel free to do that.”

The grand opening for the Parkrose Middle School will be huge, and is scheduled for September 2014. “Right now, we are on track. All of the bond projects will conclude right around that time; the multipurpose rooms will be done by January 1, 2014.”

To learn more about the Parkrose School District building district, see their blog: CLICK HERE.

Members and guests listen to the Parkrose School District presentation.

Meet the PBA
Members of the Parkrose Business Association meet again on April 18 at 11:30 a.m. The meeting is free, and the buffet lunch is $17, including dessert and gratuity; reservations are NOT required. You’ll find it at the Holiday Inn Airport 8439 NE Columbia Blvd. (in the hotel building, around the back at the Flirt’s entrance – not the Convention Center next door. For more information, see their web site: CLICK HERE.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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