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Franklin High's upgrade project begins

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Franklin High School Renovation Project Design Workshop participant Gordon Buffonge says he wants the remodeled buildings to look like a campus, not a shopping center.Workers won’t be lifting a hammer to begin modernizing and upgrading the safety of 100-year-old Franklin High School until 2015.

But, over the past few months, the Franklin community’s Design Advisory Group has helped develop four “Master Plan options” for the school.

“These four operations are considered the best schemes to fulfill the needs of a new Twenty First Century Franklin High,” said Portland Public Schools (PPS) Capital Project Director Debbie Pearson at an October 28 Design Workshop.

“The intent of this workshop – and of the others we’ve held – is to get the community involved in helping to determine what the Franklin modernization is going to look like.

“Today, we're talking about programmatic requirements and adjacencies,” Pearson told THE BEE during meeting in the school’s cafeteria. “In other words, we have different program areas – like a gymnasium, a performing arts center, and classroom spaces.”

The architects have already had six meetings with the Design Advisory Group, Pearson explained. “Today, we are synthesizing all of the ideas that came from those meetings – talking about the four Master Plan schemes.

“Participants are saying what they like and what they don't like about how things are laid out on the site, and are oriented and related to one another.”

One of the sixty participants, neighbor Gordon Buffonge, looked at the exhibits and asked many questions at the discussion stations around the cafeteria.

Later he told THE BEE, “I think it is important to build a school that serves the wide population of students that we have. To me, this should be a school that reflects the aesthetic and historic values of old Franklin High School, transitioning it into the modern period.

“I want this place to look like a school campus,” continued Buffonge. “It has the ‘bones’ to do so. I think we’ll all be empowered by a campus that continues to reflect something so elegant and lovely as the historic school does.”

This project, we learned, is in what Pearson calls the “very, very early in the design phase” – less than 5% of the way along the construction continuum.

“The architects and their consultants are pursuing what is called the ‘due diligence phase’. They are reviewing all of the existing buildings, and determining what is good, and what needs to be replaced as far as all of the systems go – for example, windows, electrical, HVAC.

“We will end up with an amalgam of existing historical structures and new structures, and considering the costs involved, come up with the best solution that ties all of that together.” The school will also be strengthened against the massive earthquake projected for Oregon in the future.

As the process continues, Pearson urged interested people to view this project’s webpage to learn about upcoming meetings, view the proposed Master Plans, and comment on surveys: HYPERLINK "www.pps.net/bond/8495.htm" www.pps.net/bond/8495.htm – or e-mail HYPERLINK "mailto: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. " This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .