After a two-year design process, Portland Public Schools can show the Portland community what its new middle school on Southeast Powell Boulevard will look like.
An architectural rendering by Oh Planning + Design shows a four-story modern building with a concrete, wood-like and glass exterior. The 108,000-square-foot building is designed to hold up to 810 students for a price tag just shy of $60 million.
Work is scheduled to finish in December 2020 to open for the 2021-22 school year, allowing time to move in and train new staff.
Kellogg will be the third new middle school to open in the district after a promise under former Superintendent Carole Smith's administration to move away from K-8 schools. Roseway Heights and Harriet Tubman middle schools opened this fall after the school board passed a 2017 resolution requiring the district to hurry up renovations to those schools.
Voters approved a $790 million bond package in 2017 for three renovated high schools, some safety upgrades at various schools and Kellogg. After massive bond budget overages were discovered in the spring, plans have been repeatedly scaled back, but the new middle school's price tag is still coming in well overbudget.
The estimate for the now $59.9 million school was $45 million at the time voters passed the bond. In order to meet that budget, district builders said they would have to shave off another 20,000 square feet — which would reduce the school's capacity to 550 students — and make a number of other adjustments.
PPS Senior Project Manager Steve Effros said those sorts of "drastic cuts" don't appear to be where the school board wants to go.
"We wanted the board to understand what it would take to get it back to $45 million," Effros said.
In August, the design team shaved off $1.3 million by removing some tech, play and aesthetic features.
The building plans still feature a performing arts stage, a multi-purpose gym, a commons area and outdoor classrooms. The school itself will also be designed to be part of the curriculum: digital readouts will show how much energy it is using and producing from the rooftop solar panels, even how much each classroom is using.
The playground will use mathematical concepts in its design and an air quality control station will give budding scientists data about the world around them.
But Effros said the part he is most excited about is bringing back a community hub to the area and building a model for PPS middle schools.
"It's mostly just the fact that after being closed for 10 years … that we're kind of bringing a brand new middle school online that's intended to be a model for PPS," he said. "I think that's where we feel there will be the biggest impact and essentially the most exciting part of it."
Kellogg was shut down in 2007 during an enrollment and budgetary crisis in the district. Reopening it was explored a few times but ultimately the brick building was considered beyond repair and demolished this summer. Parts of the old building have been saved and will be incorporated into the new building.
The district is still in the permitting phase of construction. In 2019, PPS will ask contractors to submit their qualifications and then will ask for bids from that pre-approved pool of contractors. Effros said this method was used during the Faubion PreK-8 School project to successfully keep the project on time and under budget.
You can watch a virtual reality tour of the planned school below: