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Board may move Marysville students to shuttered school

District looks at Kellogg Middle School as an alternative

Will Portland Public Schools reopen the shuttered Kellogg Middle School school building as a new location for Marysville School?

Some members of the community expressed interest in doing just that, during the three public meetings held this month to discuss Marysville's future.

A wing of Marysville was destroyed in a November 2009 fire. The school has since operated out of the formerly shuttered Rose City Park School, five miles west, but that's not a long-term option for the school because the Marysville community wants to return to their neighborhood, district officials say.

'Nobody is considering keeping Marysville students at Rose City Park,' says district spokesman Matt Shelby. 'That's not one that had any traction.'

A failed bond measure left Marysville without funds to rebuild at their old site. That leaves two other primary options: use the $4.5 million in fire insurance money to rebuild just the burnt wing of Marysville and reclaim the site, or move into Kellogg - just a mile and a half away from their neighborhood.

Curious about the latter option after two public forums on Sept. 10 and Sept. 13, 'people expressed desire to walk (through) the Kellogg building,' Shelby says. 'We opened it up' on Saturday, Sept. 17, and about 25 people from the community showed up.

The building has a full-size gym, larger classrooms and lots of stairs, just like Rose City Park. Since younger students have to been on the ground floor at any elementary school, they'd have to occupy the small annex outside the main building.

At Southeast 69th Avenue and Powell Boulevard, Kellogg's proximity to the Marysville neighborhood would allow about half the students to walk to school, Shelby says.

Yet students would have to cross both Powell and Holgate boulevards. Now, all but a handful must take the school bus to Rose City Park.

If Kellogg were reopened, the district could use $3 million of the $4.5 available insurance money to spruce up the Kellogg building, which has gone into disrepair since it was closed in 2007 during a districtwide reconfiguration process. That amount would not be enough to fully modernize the building, Shelby says, but it would pay to fix any roof leaks, clean the broken glass and old flooring.

After the walkthrough of Kellogg, people gathered to give their feedback at a Sept. 19 public forum.

'People were mostly leaning towards reopening Marysville with insurance money, rebuilding the burned portion,' Shelby says. 'But people were definitely considering Kellogg and most were sitting back and weighing the pros and cons.'

Now, district leaders are working with Marysville administrators to make sure that all segments of their population are represented in the discussion.

The district's Office of School Modernization will soon synthesize all of the feedback and send it to Superintendent Carole Smith by mid-October; Smith hopes to have her recommendation to the school board by the end of October.

The school board would invite several rounds of testimony later this fall.

If the PPS construction bond had passed in May, the district would have combined its insurance proceeds from the fire with the bond funds to fully modernize Marysville at its old location. The bond's defeat forced the district to re-evaluate its plans.

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