Patching up for the present

Franklin High School under construction this past April. The renovation was funded by the 2012 PPS school modernization bond and the renovated building opened this fall.

Leaking roof, falling tiles and lead contaminated water are a few of the things that describe the Lincoln High School building.

Lincoln has sat on the block of 16th and Salmon St. since for 67 years.  Due to the bond measure passing in spring 2017, Lincoln is finally going to get remodeled.

Many people see the remodel as a new start for Lincoln. The new school won’t be overcrowded, have asbestos, infected water or tiles falling off the ceiling.  However, the current building is going to have to be used for at least six more years until the new building is complete.

For years, bathrooms at Lincoln have been forced to shut down on multiple occasions, due to maintenance. Although, due to the bond proposal in the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, administration saw no reason to put money into the bathrooms..

Principal Peyton Chapman explains that when “our bathrooms get shut down, we’re in big trouble,” but, “You don’t want to put real money into this building because we know we’re going to tear it down.”
Now that the bond is passed, actions like this will be seen more frequently than before.

“If there’s something that is going to make matters worse, [maintenance] will probably try and patch it,” she says.

Chapman also explains that “They replaced the boiler systems about three years ago” and “have changed some plumbing in Lily Wendel’s art sinks and the science labs upstairs” because the science lab sinks would “back up…and overflow, which is a real problem.”

The building has many problems, and despite that, Chapman says that “it’s always a hard decision” to decide what gets fixed, and what doesn’t. “Even the little things can be $100,000,” such as plumbing issues.

Within the Portland Public School system, Lincoln is far from the oldest school, and the other buildings have even more flaws than Lincoln.

“Jefferson is over 100 years old. Ours isn’t the oldest or in the worst shape,” Chapman says. “The problem with our school is that we’re almost 200% capacity. Imagine the wear and tear on a building when you have twice the number of kids that it should have.”

In order to save money for the district, Chapman states that “There’s planned deferred maintenance until we get a new school,” or else it’d be “throwing good money into bad bones.”

However, Lincoln students are the main victims of Lincoln’s current building.

Students senior Stephanie Lair, junior Romy Rosen, junior Grace Zilbert and junior Parker Denton said that Lincoln’s building is “Disgusting,” “Horrible,” “Dilapidated” and “Dangerous” when asked the question “What is one word that comes to mind when you think of the Lincoln building?”

Aisha Beck, a math teacher at Lincoln states that her classroom, room 5, “has math classes every period of the day. So, I asked to have the projector permanently attached to the ceiling so that the smart board works consistently and effectively.” The request to make such improvement was denied because it couldn’t be taken to the new school.

Beck argues that it’s inefficient and explains that “When I teach in the other math classrooms, I can walk in and get things set up right away because of the correct smart board set up.  In Room 5, it usually takes extra time and every time the cart gets bumped, I have to re-calibrate.  It’s irritating for me and definitely distracts my attention from the lesson.”

Jon Coney of PPS Public Affairs says that “PPS will maintain all systems, and revolving maintenance will continue in order to keep the building functional and safe.”

He also states “given that an entire modernization of Lincoln, which was included in the 2017 bond measure passed by voters in May, is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2020, PPS needs to be very prudent and take a hard look at all maintenance.”

As for what will happen until 2020, “PPS will continue to patch the roof [at Lincoln], but will not do a major roof overhaul. The district will do what is necessary to keep the building functional, but all needs will be weighed with the impending tear-down of the building in mind,” Coney says.

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