By David Mayne

Franklin High Modernization enters the New Year with a new look.

It seems like just yesterday that construction began at the 101-year-old Franklin High School campus. Now as 2016 draws to a close, all of the new structures of the modernized Franklin have risen out of the ground and are moving toward completion.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the new Gym/Biomedical/Culinary Arts Building that can be seen from Division Street.

Its brick finished exterior is now complete while on the inside, the wood flooring for the new gym is done and finishing touches are occurring in classrooms throughout. Outside, across the realigned track and field, new grandstands with a press box and bleacher seats have seemingly grown up overnight.

On the Woodward Street side of the campus, great strides have been made. In the new Performing Arts wing, the auditorium has been framed, drywall has been installed and painting is well underway. Exterior brick work is nearly finished and the two-story CTE/Maker Space wing next to it.

In the new Student Center wing, next to Clinton Park, exterior brick work is finished and windows are being installed. On the inside, insulation and drywall work has begun on the first floor and will soon be moving to the second floor.

In the main historic 1915 building, the main foyer’s existing structural wood framing has been removed so that new entryway staircase installation can begin. The administration offices and student store are taking shape again, with drywall and painting underway. Throughout the building, new classroom spaces are nearing completion with the addition of cabinets, countertops, lab equipment, new ceilings and finished flooring.

A $113 million investment in SE Portland, Franklin is one of three high schools and one PK-8 school that are being rebuilt as part of the 2012 School Building Improvement Bond. Each of these projects provides employment for hundreds of workers during their two-year construction cycle. As part of the modernizing process, the 101 year-old school is brought up to current seismic code and becomes fully accessible. Other environmental health and safety concerns including those involving lead, asbestos and radon, to name a few, have also been remediated.

New gymnasium at Franklin High School

Students and staff of Franklin who will spend the remainder of this school year at the former Marshall High School campus are excited about returning to revitalized school that has combined the best of the old with exciting new learning environments. On a recent tour, Vice Principal Chris Frazier was energized by what he was seeing.

“Knowing that our teachers will be in state of the art classrooms, we will be able to provide our students with a facility that is worthy of learning in the 21st century.”

Ahmar McGee, who spent his freshman year in the old Franklin and will return to the new school for his senior year, was even more excited. “I can’t wait to come back. I think it will be the best high school in the State of Oregon.”

The modernized Franklin High School will open at the start of the 2017-18 school year. For further information visit the PPS Franklin Modernization website at FranklinBond.pps.net.