By Janet Goetze
with photos by John Butenschoen
After more than 60 years, the original entry to the 1923 gym at Grant High School is visible. That’s because the 1956 gym, with a north wall that was only a few yards away from the older structure, has been demolished as part of the school’s modernization project.
The 1923 structure, known in the Grant community as the “old gym,” will house visual arts programs and central gallery space. The elevated track has been removed to make way for second-floor classrooms, according to information from the Portland Public Schools district.
A new athletic facility is taking shape at the south end of the school campus. It will house a regulation-size gym with seating for 1,700, an auxiliary gym, weight room, concessions, spin area and band room.
Most of the demolition planned on the campus is complete with removal of structures added decades after the original building. These include the library, science building and three portables. The functions of these buildings will be included in the newly designed school, which will retain its exterior brick and the front porch with tall columns.
Franklin and Roosevelt Highs already have been modernized as part of the 2012 school building improvement bond. Grant is the third high school to be updated with bond funds.
Modernization plans are underway at Madison High, with Benson next in line.