Opinion: What to do with Lincoln

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Plans to rebuild Lincoln have grown increasingly appealing to both students and voters. However, the bond they are a part of has been postponed to May.

Many feel the bond won’t even get passed, as they gather that the May ballot will lack voters.

In fact, more than 1000 students thronged the streets to protest the delay.

All the same, the Portland Public Schools board dismissed the protesters as well as their message. The board will keep the postponement.

Now, the question remains; if the bond fails, what would Lincoln do?

While the school is old, most schools are. Outside the United States, many buildings  have been around for hundreds, in some cases thousands, of years.

Even though many schools raze their old buildings, many maintain them. So, another option would be to completely renovate the Lincoln building.

Unfortunately, many claim, full renovation may be more costly than a rebuild. While a new structure will not require much maintenance for a few decades, an older building requires more maintenance. A series of renovations may suffer high costs which could eventually exceed the rebuild’s expenses.

A more moderate approach is to partially renovate. A small-scale renovation is simpler, cheaper and easier. The asbestos will be attended to, pipes will be sealed and smoke detectors could be added. However, some argue that this alternative will not prepare Lincoln for its increasing overpopulation and that students would struggle to flee the building in case of a fire or earthquake.

Another proposal is to build more portables to compensate for increasing students. Proponents argue that it is less costly than most of the other options. Some students may prefer portables than classrooms. Critics argue that even though the initial cost, often around the ten thousands, is cheaper, the maintenance costs soar over the decades. It’s a question of whether permanence or temporary readiness should be valued.

However, others propose no rebuild or renovation at all. They, many of whom are concerned taxpayers, find that Lincoln is a stable building without need for repair, especially compared to other buildings around Portland. The rebuild bond is perceived as a waste of taxpayers’ dollars. A supposedly “stable” school could fare fine despite its inevitable overpopulation. If Lincoln’s population is an issue, students from specific districts could be re-routed to other schools.

In spite of all these alternatives, it’s too early to speculate whether the rebuild bond will pass. Some voters may be seething over the unexpected walkout, but it’s possible that their anger would subside over time.

According to Portland Public Schools, the full fledge rebuild bond requires $750 million (because it applies to multiple schools). Maintenance of Lincoln can range from tens of millions to the hundreds in the future. Portables merely cost tens of thousands of dollars.