Photo Credit: Will Benoit Pictured: Visual for what GHS may look like after the bond projects.
On Nov. 8, the voters of Multnomah and Clackamas Counties passed a 291.17 million dollar bond for the Gresham-Barlow School District. The bond will be used to renovate and rebuild schools all over the district.
Over the course of the next couple of years, the school district has plans to reconstruct about 70% of Gresham High School. Proposed projects would include upgrades to both the structure and security of the school, from building a secure front entrance to the school and fitting classrooms with internally locking door hardware to the reconstruction and addition of entire wings of the school.
In 2015, Gresham High School’s Football field and track were completely redone in a $1.5 million project. With the passing of the school bond, the remaining cost of the project will be completely repaid.
Since work is set to begin in 2017, the upperclassmen of this year will most likely not feel the full effects of the school bond. This year’s eighth graders are the ones that will be able to fully utilize the new and refurbished high schools.
“I’m excited that they are trying to fix and rebuild Gresham High,” Brodie Joseph, an eighth grader at Dexter McCarty Middle School said. “I mean, the school is over 100 years old and is bound to have some problems.”
The school’s choir room, which acts as the home of all choirs at the school, is in need of some major improvements, according to choir teacher Janine Kirstein.
“The Concert Choir has 84 people in it and our room just isn’t big enough,” Kirstein said. “I’m also hoping they add in practice rooms.”
Reconstruction of the school will take place over the next few years. The money from the bond will also be used to update technology and reduce class sizes in the district.
One of the first places on the school district’s list is the school’s auditorium. Built in 1939, the auditorium hasn’t had many major renovations since its construction. Junior Mat Cornett is cautiously optimistic for the reconstruction of the auditorium.
“While I know that change is necessary, as the building is outdated and possibly dangerous, I’ll be very sad to see (the old auditorium) go, as it was the home away from home for hundreds of students for the past few decades”, he says. “There’s so much love and inspiration in this place, and I’m sure that that same love will carry forward into the new auditorium”.
While the school bond passed, it was by a very thin margin. In Multnomah County, the bond passed by a very wide margin, with 52% of voters voting for it, while the voters of Clackamas county voted it down by a very wide margin, with 58% voting against it.
Reconstruction and restoration of district facilities will begin in 2017.