Final round of community forums on renovating four Portland schools held virtually

The final round of community forums regarding renovations at three Portland elementary schools happened virtually Wednesday night.The plans are years in the making, with voters approving the $64 million bond in 2017 to renovate Longfellow, Reiche, Presumpscot and Lyseth elementary schools.In February, Portland Public Schools Superintendent Xavier Botana announced that rising construction costs had the renovations coming in at $41 million over budget.The scope of the four projects was scaled back, including at Lyseth, where construction is well underway.At Presumpscot, the No. 1 priority is getting rid of the school’s modular classrooms, creating three new kindergarten rooms and one pre-K room.The pandemic has had an affect on some of the projects’ finer details, according to Mark Lee, a member of the district’s Building Level Advisory Committee.“The nurse’s area and the bathroom upgrades were always part of the plan to improve them, but specific aspects of those areas were refined to address the aspects of COVID,” Lee said during Wednesday night’s virtual forum on renovations at Presumpscot.The bathrooms slated to be renovated will have touchless fixtures and the nurse’s area will have a separate, isolated space. The plan is for construction to begin in spring of 2021 and wrap up about 16 months later, in time for the 2022 school year.

The final round of community forums regarding renovations at three Portland elementary schools happened virtually Wednesday night.

The plans are years in the making, with voters approving the $64 million bond in 2017 to renovate Longfellow, Reiche, Presumpscot and Lyseth elementary schools.

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In February, Portland Public Schools Superintendent Xavier Botana announced that rising construction costs had the renovations coming in at $41 million over budget.

The scope of the four projects was scaled back, including at Lyseth, where construction is well underway.

At Presumpscot, the No. 1 priority is getting rid of the school’s modular classrooms, creating three new kindergarten rooms and one pre-K room.

The pandemic has had an affect on some of the projects’ finer details, according to Mark Lee, a member of the district’s Building Level Advisory Committee.

“The nurse’s area and the bathroom upgrades were always part of the plan to improve them, but specific aspects of those areas were refined to address the aspects of COVID,” Lee said during Wednesday night’s virtual forum on renovations at Presumpscot.

The bathrooms slated to be renovated will have touchless fixtures and the nurse’s area will have a separate, isolated space.

The plan is for construction to begin in spring of 2021 and wrap up about 16 months later, in time for the 2022 school year.