The steel skeleton of South Medford High School’s administration and classroom wing takes shape Friday on the new campus, set to open in fall 2010. - Jim Craven

New South Medford High rises

The steel skeleton of South Medford High School’s first building was erected last week on 42 acres at Columbus and Cunningham avenues, a landmark in the construction of the new campus set to open in fall 2010.

The campus will replace the cramped 77-year-old South Medford building at South Oakdale Avenue near downtown.

“It’s one thing to see the concrete but to watch it now take
shape and a second story, that’s the part that makes you go, ‘Wow,’ ”
said South Medford Principal Kevin Campbell, who recently took a tour of the work site.

“I was blown away when I saw it. I can’t believe how fast it’s going up.”

Construction of the 255,000-square-foot building by Hogan & Associates Construction has been under way since the summer. Crews have excavated and leveled the land for buildings and
begun installing electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems and
pouring concrete foundations.

Last week, workers assembled most of the steel framework of the school’s administration and classroom wing. Workers on Friday were pounding steel beams into place and tightening bolts as they perched on the second-story rungs of the building’s skeleton.

A semi-truck rolled up all the way from Utah to deliver another load of the steel.

All the steel will be up by the end of January or early February.

“We are on schedule,” said Blaine McMahan, project manager with Day CPM, out of Beaverton. “If we can say that one year from now, we’ll all be happy.”

The temporary construction office on the future campus has received a few complaints about dust and bellowing diesel trucks.

“But for the most part the neighbors have been pretty understanding,” McMahan said. “There’s so much excitement about the building going up.”

About 40 to 50 workers are on site each day.

“When we get fully ramped up, that will go up to about 100,” McMahan said.

An inspector shows up daily to monitor the quality of the materials and workmanship.

In preparation for winter weather, crews have laid fill rock in paths between the buildings, so they don’t have to slug around in the mud, which decreases productivity, McMahan said.

About $68 million is budgeted to construct the building, excluding design fees, wetlands mitigation and other non-construction-related costs. More than $5 million of that already has been spent, McMahan said.

When completed, the building will wrap around a yard and courtyard.

The wings will be built clockwise from the administration building on the north side of the campus. The library will be constructed to the east of the administration building, then the south classroom wing will go up. The gymnasium, technical arts classrooms, theater and band and choir rooms will follow on the southwest side. The locker rooms next to the gym will open into the sports fields to the southwest. The commons/cafeteria will be wedged in the center of the building to serve as the social hub.

The new high school will have views of the Siskiyou foothills from the large windows that dominate its design. It will have six more teaching spaces than the 78 at the existing campus and double the acreage, from 21 to 42 acres. The new campus, however, will have a 400-seat black box theater instead of an auditorium, which seats more than double that. It also will have one less gymnasium than the three that exist now. The gyms at the old high school and Spiegelberg Stadium will continue to be used by South students as well as other students in the district.

“It’s going to be a neat building when it’s done,” McMahan said.

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or

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