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Officials Say Cost Of Renovation For Four Of Portland's Elementary Schools Is More Than Expected

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Portland School officials say a voter-approved $64 million bond is no longer enough to cover the costs of renovation for four of the district's elementary schools.

The bond was approved by Portland voters three years ago to extensively upgrade the elementary schools and fix many structural and safety issues. But architects hired by the district estimate that increasing construction costs statewide could push the full cost of the project, as originally imagined, to $105 million.

"Although construction cost increases were built into the initial projections of the four projects, the actual costs in today’s economy far exceed what was projected," reads a statement from school officials.

“I think the bottom line, in this case, is that we will be able to renovate all four of these schools. Focusing on renovating the educational spaces, in a way that will have the biggest bang for the buck in terms of impacting our kids' education,” says Portland School Board Member Emily Figdor, who helped push through the original four-school bond.

She says while she's disappointed that the renovations could potentially be reduced, she wants the district to go forward and make needed upgrades at all four schools.

The school board is set to discuss options for the project at a meeting next week.

“At that point, we'll have to start to make some pretty hard choices about what specific parts of the projects we should go forward with,” Figdor says.