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PPS may expand bond work

If you build them, they will come.

That’s the thinking the Portland School Board had Monday night when voting to spend $10 million more to increase the capacity of Franklin, Grant and Roosevelt high schools.

That’s a modification from the $482 million bond proposal voters approved last year.

The increase in project cost — from $247 million to $257 million for the three schools — will come from bond reserve funds. The bond reserve was established to accommodate such changes without impacting other bond project scopes and budgets.

The board’s action means PPS will modernize Franklin and Grant high schools to accommodate 1,700 students in both common areas and classrooms and build Roosevelt High School to accommodate 1,700 students in common areas and 1,350 in classrooms.

The Roosevelt master plan will allow for classroom space for an additional 350 students in the future.

The original 2012 bond proposal called for smaller common area and classroom capacities of 1,500 at Grant and Franklin and a common area at Roosevelt of 1,500 and classroom capacity of 1,200.

PPS revised the building capacities in response to updated enrollment forecasts; anticipated capture rate increases; the completion of comprehensive education specifications to guide bond projects, and concerns about under-building the high school common areas given the required longevity of the buildings and the challenge of expanding common areas once constructed.

The board will consider the updated Franklin and Roosevelt master plans next month after considering public feedback.