By Carl Jameson, CNA Media Team
Homes aren’t the only buildings being demolished and increasing in size in the Concordia neighborhood. A single story International style influenced building has been torn to ground and will be replaced by a gleaming three story structure with room for up to 800 children from early childhood through eighth grade, aka James B. Faubion School.
Built in 1950, the school was constructed during a period of modernization and new construction initiated by Portland Public Schools after World War II. In 1945, Portland voters approved a ballot measure to construct, improve, and rehabilitate its public school buildings. The ballot measure was a response to the explosive growth in school-age children that resulted from the arrival of defense plant workers and their families during the war, deferred maintenance needs and just in time for the oncoming baby boom after the war.
Fast forward to 2012: The citizens of Portland approved the PPS School Building Improvement Bond. The bond is funding $33 million for the project. Concordia University, a private, non-profit Christian liberal arts university, is contributing up to $15.5 million in building funding along with land and additional resources.
Concordia and Faubion have been neighbors for over sixty years with many Concordia education students completing a part of their field experience at Faubion. The collaboration between the two institutions increased eight years ago with the tenure of Faubion’s current principal LaShawn Lee and has resulted in improved learning outcomes for students in reading, math and science.
When the new Faubion School is completed in 2017 the oldest of its former pupils will be seventy-six years old and they certainly won’t recognize their former school. The new building, yet to be officially named by PPS, will house the Concordia University College of Education and Faubion PK-8 School under one roof. Together, along with Trillium Family Services and other community partners, they will offer educational, health and social services aimed at creating a foundation of success for students. Faubion’s current pupils, temporarily at the Harriet S. Tubman site, can’t wait to move into their new home. “They were sad leave the old Faubion, but are very excited to see the new building taking shape and for the future,” said Vice Principal Jennifer McCally.
At the old Faubion site there will be increased construction traffic in and around school grounds. Site security is a priority. There will be construction fencing surrounding the site for the duration of work.
Groundbreaking for the new Faubion School will take place in Spring 2016. Todd Construction, the general contractor for the rebuild, plans on a work schedule from 7am-5pm, Mon-Fri, but work may occur on some evenings and some weekends as needed.
Carl Jameson is a writer/director/videographer at Craftmaster Productions, a full service creative production company. He’s lived and worked in the Concordia neighborhood since 2001. Reach him by emailing email@example.com