Two Southwest schools among first in district to receive capital improvements this summer

Nine months after Portland Public Schools received voter approval for a $482 million construction bond to finance capital improvement in schools throughout the district, the first round of construction is set to begin on five PPS schools, two of them in Southwest Portland.

In 2011-12, Alameda K-5 was awarded a $1.5 million project through the Oregon Office of Emergency Management Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program. This grant set the stage for determining what schools would be worked on in this initial phase of bond-funded capital improvement.

After PPS students leave for summer vacation the week of June 14, contractors will mobilize on Bridlemile K-5 and Wilson High, located in the Bridlemile and Hillsdale neighborhoods, respectively, of Southwest. Other schools to be worked on include Alameda and Laurelhurst K-8 in Northeast; and Lewis K-5 in Southeast.

“The five schools we’re doing this summer all have roof tear-off replacement and … seismic repair work,” explained PPS Office of School Modernization Capital Operations Director Jim Owens. “Bridlemile and Lewis had systems that were very deteriorated, so we packaged that work together with Alameda."

The contract for that package of projects was awarded last month to 2KG Contractors Inc., in the amount of $1.97 million.

“Those sites are just roof tear-offs and replacements with seismic improvement … primarily (to) the roof membrane,” he said. “So that type of work is important from the sense that they get the new roof, (which) will seismically improve the school, which will improve the school’s safety.”

At Wilson, meanwhile, “It’s a much larger roof system. It’s a complete tear-off and replacement with some seismic strengthening,” Owens said. “Wilson also has some ADA accessibility improvements … being made in addition to the roof replacement.” by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: PORTLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS - The view from the Wilson roof, seen here, before improvements begin this month.

All in all, he said, “Alameda and Wilson are the two most challenging projects for the summer,” and the Wilson project, “Relative to all the schools for the summer … is the largest in terms of total investment.”

Owens said the summer 2013 capital improvement project would cost about $13.3 million in bond funds, with $4.15 million allocated to the upgrades at Wilson, the contract for which was recently awarded to the firm P&C Construction Co.

“The roof at Wilson is so immense; it’s nearly 3 acres,” said PPS Director of Project Management Randy Miller. “A downtown city block is almost 40,000 square feet, so it’s approximately three downtown city blocks-plus. So, it’s big, which is why we’re concerned about the schedule.”

The P&C website states that all work will begin on June 17 and completion is planned for Aug. 23, 2013. However, the timeline PPS has delineated is somewhat different. “Whether or not we really want to try to get this done in one year, we’re planning for two years,” Miller said. “What we don’t want to do is overpromise and then under-deliver.”

Even so, Miller said, “We have planed for … two summers of work, but we’re going to try for one. In order to get there, we have applied for and received a noise variance (which) extends the potential hours of work … such that if we put in those extra hours and get it done in one summer, then we don’t impact (the community) at all the following summer.”

In addition to noise, PPS has sought to address other concerns for the Wilson community as well.

Owens said PPS has striven to ensure that Wilson Outdoor Pool, which is operated by Portland Parks & Recreation, may continue to operate and remain open to the public this summer amid construction.

And while Owens said, “The pool got most of our attention because parks and rec wanted to make sure that would stay,” he added that PPS also made sure to move summer programs that would have been housed at Bridlemile or Wilson to other schools in the Wilson High School cluster.

And whether the projects at Bridlemile and Wilson are completed this year or next, Southwest hasn’t seen the last of capital improvement construction: most other schools in the Wilson High School cluster are expected to get improvements in the next few years.

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