Summer brings hard hats, backhoes to school campuses

Classes are out for summer, but the activity level is up on at least five campuses in the Forest Grove School District.

That's because construction has started on several expansion projects included in the $65.3 million bond levy approved by voters in November.

'All schools in the district will experience some level of construction or upgrades in the bond,' noted Connie Potter, communications director for the district.

Projects on the horizon - and their approximate start and finish dates - include:

• Groundbreaking on the new Joseph Gale Elementary School begins this month. The existing school will remain in operation until the new school is completed in spring 2012. Once the new school is finished, the old school, built in 1954, will be demolished.

• The first phase of an expansion of Forest Grove High School will also start in July with construction of new athletic fields to the north of the school. The fields will include a new varsity baseball field, varsity softball field and a soccer field. A new concessions stand will be constructed as well. Construction on a new science classroom wing, a gymnasium, an expanded cafeteria, additional parking and other improvements will begin in February of 2012 and be completed by September 2013.

• Work has already begun to expand the cafeteria at Echo Shaw Elementary School. The work will be completed before school resumes in September, Potter said.

• Work will begin this month on a new cafeteria at Harvey Clarke Elementary School. Other projects include a new bus drop-off area and staff parking lot and a relocated covered play area. Construction should be finished by mid-December.

• Science classrooms at Neil Armstrong Middle School are being remodeled this summer and should be ready by Sept. 1.

• Technology and security upgrades will occur at several buildings over summer break, with the remaining schools receiving those upgrades in 2012 and 2013. The upgrades include security key card and surveillance cameras, computer control servers and installation of ceiling mounts for projectors in classrooms on those campuses.

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