PORTLAND — A $29.7 million bond to replace the aging Fred P. Hall Elementary School will go before voters April 5 in a special citywide election.
Most of the cost would be reimbursed by the state, since the project is on the Department of Education’s Major Capital Construction Approved Projects List. Approximately $1.4 million in borrowing will be repaid locally.
The referendum date and amount to be borrowed were unanimously approved by the City Council in February.
If voters approve the project and plans go as scheduled, the new school will be constructed to hold 588 students and will open in 2018. Current enrollment is approximately 440 students. Students will continue to attend school at the existing Hall School at 23 Orono Road, which was built in 1957, while the new building is under construction.
In addition to many facility needs, including issues with rain and flooding, the school was damaged by a fire in 2012.
The footprint of the single-story school is roughly 54,000 square feet. The new school will have an area of nearly 85,000 gross square feet. There will be a two-story classroom wing and a one-story classroom wing that will have the capacity for a second story.
Earlier estimates had the replacement cost at around $20 million. That figure grew based on estimates from the project’s architects, Oak Point Associates. The new school will be built on the same 21-acre site as the current building.
The locally funded portion of the project was recommended by the Hall School Building Committee, endorsed by eight members of the School Board and approved by the City Council. This portion will cover nine upgrades to the site, the bulk of which will expand the school’s cafeteria and gymnasium. These two projects are expected to cost roughly $884,000. Other improvements include safety upgrades, upgraded athletic fields, repaving the school road, and making the building more energy efficient.
Absentee ballots are available from the city clerk’s office until Thursday, March 31, at 7 p.m. Because the city missed a deadline to seek consolidation of polling places, almost all city polling places will be open April 5. For this election only, voters who typically go to the Portland Expo to vote are being directed to the Howard C. Reiche Community School at 166 Brackett St. All polling places will be open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m.
Polling places are listed online at portlandmaine.gov on the city clerk’s page under the elections and voting tab.
Portland voters will decide April 5 whether to replace the Fred P. Hall Elementary School at 23 Orono Road.