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Raising the bar on raising the roof

Wilson High School gets new roof a year ahead of schedule


Wilson High School students started the school year under a brand-new roof — constructed a year ahead of schedule.

In November 2012, Portland Public Schools received voter approval for a $482 million construction bond that would be used to finance capital improvements in schools throughout the district — including, during the first round of construction in summer 2013, Wilson.

Portland-area commercial construction firm P&C Construction Co. was awarded the $4.15 million contract for Wilson, whose improvements included a complete roof tear-off and replacement, as well as American with Disabilities Act upgrades.

In May, PPS Facilities & Asset Management Director of Project Management Randy Miller told The Connection that owing to Wilson’s immense size — nearly 3 acres, or more than three city blocks — he and his colleagues were concerned about being able to get the Wilson project done on time, so PPS planned for work to take place over two summers, but aimed to get it all done in one.

And they were successful.

“Our estimator told us it was a five-month project to complete that roof. We set the contract up so that it would bridge into two construction seasons, and the contractor was responsible for getting the work done, but there would be no additional funds if they had to come back and finish next year,” Miller said. “So they had all the incentive in the world to make that work. That’s exactly what happened. P&C Construction came back with a work plan to start with one roofer on the north end, one on the south, one towards the middle — and all systems go.”

“In essence,” he said, “we were able to complete the project a year early.”

Although the ADA improvements were not complete in time for the start of the 2013-14 school year, Miller said they should wrap up by the end of September.

“The ADA improvements are being completed now. Those were not critical to the opening of schools, so we didn’t say, ‘You have to go away and come back next year,'” he said.

Coming to a stopping point on the roof construction was a more imminent priority because, Miller said, “As you can imagine, you can’t leave a roof incomplete.”

Other schools receiving roof upgrades through the building improvement bond include Alameda K-5 and Laurelhurst K-8 in Northeast, Lewis K-5 in Southeast and Bridlemile right here in Southwest.

“We’re very pleased with the success of this year’s bond project,” Miller said. “We completed the first five, and now were in the midst of planning the next phase.