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PPS mulls Marysville vs. Kellogg locations

FUTURE OF MARYSVILLE SCHOOL?
by: David F. Ashton Looking over potential plans for both Marysville and Kellogg schools, Teri Keller, a “Marysville mom”, and Jessie Thompson, who attended Marysville – both work at the Rose City Park School now – say they favor the school’s original site.

Fire destroyed almost half of the Marysville Elementary School in November of 2009. Today, the school's neighbors, teachers, and staff agree on one idea: Bringing a school back to the neighborhood it serves.

As Portland Public Schools makes plans to move forward, they held a series of public outreach events in September.

'The purpose of these meetings is to engage the Marysville school community in discussions about future and options for the school,' explained Sarah Schoening, Executive Director of the PPS Office of School Modernization at a September 10th meeting held at the Brentwood-Darlington Community Center.

'We were preparing for a capital expenditure program,' Schoening continued. 'We were hoping to leverage the insurance proceeds with the capital program funds to rebuild and fully modernize the school. That capital program was not passed by the voters this spring. Now, we need to make new plans to get Marysville School back home - near its home location.'

According to Schoening, the Portland School District had a 'good insurance policy' on the Marysville building. 'It was for replacement value - providing in excess of $4 million; a substantial amount.'

This amount would be sufficient to rebuild the charred portion of the building, Schoening noted. 'But, the only the improvements that can be made to this section, that are included in the insurance policy, are those required by code, such as fire sprinklers and fire detection equipment. It doesn't include upgrades to the rest of the building.'

At the Brentwood-Darlington meeting, and at a repeat session on September 13th at the Y Arts Center on S.E. Foster Road, and at a 'recap' meeting on September 19th at the same location, community and staff members were given the opportunity to voice their opinions.

'Based on what we heard at the first meeting,' said PPS spokesman Matt Shelby, 'And because one of options was to use the [closed] Kellogg School building on S.E. Powell Boulevard, the District hosted a walk-through the building on September 17th. People were also encouraged to give feedback during the recap meeting.'

At these meetings, Shelby said, two options emerged as the most likely solutions: Repair the burned portion of the Marysville building and move students and teachers back in - or move the school into the Kellogg building, which is located about a mile north of the burned buildings, on S.E. 69th at S.E. Powell Boulevard.

'Overall, people expressed a real desire for the school to come back to the neighborhood, and indicated a strong emotional attachment to the original Marysville site,' Shelby observed. 'But, it wasn't unanimous consent; others pointed out that more space is actually available at Kellogg, and it has a full gym and a science lab.'

The school district's preliminary tally showed the community's reasons to rebuild Marysville include:

• Rebuilds community; 'brings emotional healing'

• Better seismic condition than Kellogg

• Better accessibility for wheelchairs and strollers than Kellogg

• Potential for partial science lab

• Adjacent to beautiful, renovated park

• School population and increased activity will minimize issues in park

• Prefer having small community schools; need to keep these types open

• Like being able to walk to school - sustainable

• District promised to rebuild Marysville

Those in favor of moving to the Kellogg building stated:

• Provides for future growth, including more learning options

• Has the potential for full middle school program and facilities for younger students

• Can have play structure for younger and smaller students

• Building for Kellogg is building for the future

• Increased and better parking

• Nearly doubles the square footage of Marysville

• Provides other opportunities for reuse of the unburned portion of Marysville

'The process identified that, while the turnout at the meetings was good, it wasn't totally representative of the entire Marysville community,' Shelby acknowledged.'Staff is working to make sure everyone has been consulted in the process, to ensure all members of the Marysville community are heard from before a formal recommendation is presented to the school board for consideration in October.'

It appears from this dialogue that, regardless of the outcome of the Marysville vs. Kellogg debate, the Marysville students, who are now bussed daily to the Northeast Portland 'Rose City Park' campus and back, can expect to move into a school located much closer to home in January of 2013.