$47 million South Portland High School renovation ‘on target’ and on budget, superintendent says

Classes begin Sept. 3 at South Portland High School on Highland Avenue, where a $47 million renovation and construction project is expected to be completed in December.
Shelby Carignan | The Forecaster
Classes begin Sept. 3 at South Portland High School on Highland Avenue, where a $47 million renovation and construction project is expected to be completed in December.
Posted Aug. 27, 2014, at 6:30 p.m.

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — The high school renovation is nearing completion as students and teachers return to classrooms next week.

Superintendent of Schools Suzanne Godin said the high school project is “right on target” and on budget, with a projected completion date of Dec. 19.

The $47 million project began in the spring of 2012. The first phase, completed last December, was the addition of a new cafeteria, a library or “learning commons,” and a lecture hall to the existing 62-year-old building.

PC Construction has been working on the project’s second and final phase, a renovation and expansion of the existing school, since the beginning of this year.

Godin said she was pleased with the company’s effort this summer to complete renovations on 10 classrooms early so that students and teachers would not have to use portable classrooms for the semester that begins Sept. 3.

In addition to the classroom renovations, all windows of the original high school building have been replaced, Godin said. A connector between the old building and the new addition is under construction and the old building has a new roof. Upgrades also are taking place in the high school’s auditorium and gymnasium.

The high school renovation has been at least a decade in the making. Voters approved plans for the additions and renovations in a 2010 referendum, after previously rejecting a larger, more expensive plan.

With just a few months to go before the second phase is complete, Ralph Baxter, chairman of the high school building committee, said he has been blown away by local support and enthusiasm for the project.

“It’s very personally gratifying, but even more so is the community pride,” he said.

Baxter said the building committee will continue to meet in the project’s final months and begin planning for future improvements to the high school and other public school buildings.

Meanwhile, students will have to wait until the project is done to experience the final touches made in the four months ahead, including new integrated classrooms to support STEM programming and project-based learning, as well as a new video production studio.

Godin said she anticipates an open house in early January to introduce the remodeled high school to the community.

“It’s going to be a wonderful, 21st century school that’s going to provide tons of opportunities,” she said. “It gets the whole school moving in that same direction.”

 

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