Updates on School Renovations

By Sylvia Strupp, Reporter

Most PPS students have heard of the School Improvement Project. It’s the initiative to modernize district schools, first funded in 2012. This project focuses on updating arts and science buildings and maximizing seismic safety and water quality.

Grant High School, the third of the first three high schools to be modernized, recently opened on Sept. 7. It has received a new entryway, theater, visual arts building, and a new athletic building with an auxiliary gym and weight room. 

Roosevelt and Franklin both had their buildings completed in 2017 (Roosevelt is still having landscaping work done). Madison and Kellogg middle school are next on the list, and will open in 2021. They, along with Benson and Lincoln, have had the master plans for their modernization approved and are the next schools in line to be remodeled. 

Benson, however, has postponed construction until the next School Building Improvement Bond is passed, due to the current budget falling short of the necessary cost. 

The last two high schools, Wilson and Cleveland, are in the initial  planning stages. The master plan will be designed from fall 2019 to winter 2020 by the Cleveland Conceptual Master Planning Committee.

“After Cleveland’s conceptual master plan is delivered to the school board in December or January, they’ll make a determination on whether or not the public will vote for the bond,” said Leo Lawyer, Cleveland principal. “When the bond is passed, PPS can begin to schedule the renovations for the next three schools. We’re doing our best to plan the costs of the next three schools as effectively as possible.” 

The lead in district schools’ water is also an important issue. The PPS Water Quality Program replaced many water fixtures in the district, but there are still quite a few left untouched. The problems with these fixtures usually lie in the pipes, which would cost millions of dollars to replace. PPS has decided to try a different solution. They are implementing the Water Quality Pilot Program, an experimental solution taking place in six schools―Arleta, Duniway, Jefferson, Llewellyn, Rigler and Robert Gray. The pilot program involves installing new water fixtures with high-quality lead filters. This project is ongoing and is scheduled to run from Summer 2019 to January 2020. You can find week-by-week data on lead levels in the pilot schools on the PPS website. As of October 18th, no lead levels in the new fixtures have even reached a third of the designated PPS action level.