Portland seeks bidders for Lyseth School additions

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PORTLAND — Potential bidders for the estimated $12 million renovation and expansion of Harrison Lyseth Elementary School will meet March 7 for a pre-bid conference at City Hall.

The request for proposals issued by the city Finance Department on Feb. 25 came two weeks after the School Department filed a site plan application for Planning Board review.

Bids for the work are scheduled to be opened March 28; the site plan has not appeared on a Planning Board agenda.

Lyseth Elementary, at 175 Auburn St., is the first of four city elementary schools to be renovated and expanded as part of a $64 million bond approved by voters in 2017.

Expansions and renovations at Longfellow, Presumpscot and Reiche schools will follow.

The work at Lyseth follows the opening of the new Amanda C. Rowe Elementary School in September 2018. The school replaced the former Hall Elementary School in the Nason’s Corner area off Brighton Avenue.

The cover letter from Harriman Associates, the project architects, notes the work includes adding 14,000 square feet of new space, largely a gym and library expansion. The remaining 3,400 square feet is for office space.

The budgeted total cost for the project is $15.2 million, but Mark Lee at Harriman Associates said in December 2018 the actual construction costs are about $11.8 million.

Lyseth Elementary School was opened in 1958 and presently has an enrollment of about 530 students.

“No additional students or staff are anticipated, due to these improvements,” Harriman’s cover letter noted.

The site plan map notes 18,000 square feet of “heavy renovation will occur inside the school, including in the school lobby and four spaces used for kindergarten classes.

The school will remain open during the work, which is expected to last at least two years, with an anticipated start this spring. There will also be an onsite project manager overseeing the project.

The new library and gym, including a stage area, will be set off the existing school with a curved hallway, while offices will be built adjacent to the lobby and kindergarten areas.

The new lobby will offer improved security for school access and new fire alarms and a sprinkler system will be installed.

While adding 15,000 square feet to the 50,000-square-foot school, parking and playground areas will also be rebuilt during the project. Six new parking spaces will be added to the present 33, with two of the new spaces meeting Americans With Disability Act standards. 

“The pavements around the building will be raised to make the doors ADA‐accessible and to improve drainage,” the Harriman cover letter noted.

The extensive work at Lyseth was actually cut back in scale from original plans due to increasing construction costs.

In December, Lee said the primary project eliminations were a new bus loop and more parking above the six spaces to be added.

David Harry can be reached at 780-9092 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Construction bids and Planning Board review are coming for the renovation and expansion of Portland’s Lyseth Elementary School.

Renovations and expansion of Lyseth School in Portland include a new gym and library and additional office space.

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Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.