Portland anticipates construction of new Hall School

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PORTLAND — Site work has begun on the $29.7 million Hall Elementary School project and school officials are planning to hold a ceremonial groundbreaking before the school year ends in June.

The School Board was scheduled to get an update Tuesday night on the project, which is expected to be completed by September 2018.

The new school will be almost entirely paid for with state funding and has been several years in the making.

“This will be a brand new school designed to meet educational needs for the next 50 years,” Laurie Davis, District 3 representative to the School Board, said prior to the May 2 meeting.

“It will (also) be (green energy) certified, and has been designed to take advantage of the site, with several large trees specifically saved and integrated into the design.”

When construction is completed, the new Hall School will have capacity for nearly 600 students.

Classes will continue to be held in the existing building, which was built in 1956, while the new school goes up on the same Orono Road property, according to the construction plans.

“Building a totally new school is always an exciting prospect, and the quality of this school building, totally designed for the future, not just renovated, will be energizing to the entire Hall community,” Davis said.

“The quality of the education at Hall is impressive and now the school will have a building that is thoughtfully designed to support that education(al)” mission, she added.

While almost all of the cost to build the new school will be picked up by the state, a voter referendum nearly a year ago approved spending $1.4 million in local funds for upgrades to the building.

The local money will be used to build a middle school-sized gymnasium, which can also be used by the community, a cafeteria that is large enough to accommodate two, 30-minute lunch periods, and state-of-the-art security.

The design for the new school also includes new playgrounds and playing fields, outdoor classroom areas and a building orientation that maximizes daylight, along with up-to-date classrooms and project work space.

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or kcollins@theforecaster.net. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KirishCollins.

An architectural rendering of the entrance to Portland’s new Hall Elementary School.