Robert Hodder of Grants Pass does some welding on the steel framework of Jackson Elementary School's new classroom structure. The wooden structure in the background is the school's new gymnasium. - Jim Craven

School construction on track

Drive around the city of Medford, and you'll find school construction activity that seems at odds with the sagging economy.

It's remnants of the Medford School District's $189 million bond construction package. The measure was passed by voters in November 2006, and the money can be used for no other purpose than school construction under law.

Many of the projects already are completed. Six pending construction projects all are on schedule and either on or under budget, said Mark Button, Medford schools facilities director.

Jackson, Roosevelt, Oak Grove and Lone Pine elementary schools are being renovated and partially reconstructed. North Medford High School also is undergoing renovation, and a new South Medford High School is taking form on a tract of land at Columbus and Cunningham avenues.

Jackson Elementary School on West Jackson Street and Roosevelt Elementary School on Lindley Street are on the same schedule for renovation and reconstruction by Batzer Construction of Medford.

"Visually, Jackson is ahead of Roosevelt," Button said. "The same crew that is putting up the steel at Jackson will be moving to Roosevelt."

That means the sister schools, which originally were built at the same time nearly 100 years ago, essentially will be taking turns for many of the steps of construction.

They are expected to open together on schedule at the end of 2009.

Utah-based Hogan & Associates Construction is taking a similar approach to South Medford High School on Cunningham. The buildings now all have their structural skeletons, and some have insulation. Crews are working on the buildings starting at the administration building on the north and working clockwise, Button said.

Its debut still is set for May or June 2010.

At Oak Grove Elementary School on West Main Street, a new administration building and gymnasium nearly are complete. Crews are working on the interiors. Meanwhile, a 100-year-old building facing Main is receiving structural reinforcement for earthquake resistance. The work is slated to wrap up by fall.

On the east side, Lone Pine Elementary on Lone Pine Road is nearing the construction finish line, still on target for completion this fall.

The school's gymnasium and cafeteria frameworks are up, and crews are filling them in. Two older classroom wings will be renovated this summer.

North Medford on North Keene Way Drive is being renovated in phases. Work began last year and will resume this summer with a makeover for the administration center, parking lot, sidewalks and landscaping as well as some mansard work. The project isn't expected to be completed until fall 2010.

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or

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