• Facilities Are Upgraded at Benson Polytechnic’s Temporary Home

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     Benson student

    A student uses a grinder at Benson's temporary home at the Marshall High School campus. (Photo by David Mayne)

    Benson Polytechnic students are now using an upgraded Marshall campus while their historic campus undergoes a three-year remodeling process.  Construction began on the modernization of Benson in August, shortly after a ground-breaking ceremony. It will be the largest project undertaken by the Office of School Modernization. Due to its size and the need to provide unique facilities for the Benson programs, the remodeling process will take a year longer than previous projects.

    Benson students are not the first to use the Marshall campus. The entire school communities of Franklin, Grant and Leodis V McDaniel have all made the campus their temporary home while those schools were being rebuilt. Benson, however, required some special upgrades to accommodate their specialized programs.

    A new CTE Annex building was recently completed at Marshall, and it provides a home for the Automotive Program on one side of the building and spaces for the Construction CTE program and Tech Geo on the other side. The building also has covered outdoor work areas to provide additional spaces to work on automobiles and gives construction students a place to continue the Tiny House project.

    The new 5,200-square-foot automotive classroom is outfitted with seven bays for working on vehicles. Two new lifts were installed, bringing the total to four. Two classroom areas provide space for the small engine room and in-person learning.

    The 5,000-square-foot construction classroom provides a large project area and includes a computer numerical control laser cutter room, plus a small computer work area and classroom space. The Tech Geo program is located in about 2,300 square feet at the north end of the building. This is the first time Tech Geo has had a classroom designed for its specific program.

    The CTE Annex was also designed for flexibility of use. When the Benson community returns to their modernized school, the Annex building can be repurposed for other uses and programs.

    “Moving Benson's robust CTE programs into the Marshall campus was not an easy task; traditional classrooms had to be converted into automotive and electric shops, photo studios, dental labs -- you name it,” said Steve Curley, Benson Digital Media Instructor. “With a lot of hard work, creativity and patience from the district and BPHS staff, and with the completion of the new annex, we are set to continue with our mission of providing career technical education for the students of Portland.”

    Upgrades also took place on the inside of the Marshall building. The building’s electrical infrastructure was expanded to accommodate needs for the Manufacturing, Electrical, Digital Media and Health Occupation programs. Further upgrades included classroom renovations for the Dental, Radio, Electrical and Manufacturing programs.

     “The Benson Polytechnic community, staff and students are excited to be on the Marshall Campus as it has been retrofitted and reconstructed to house all of Benson's CTE programs,” said Curtis Wilson, Benson principal. “PPS has also been able to support Benson Tech with a new CTE Annex that will allow our Automotive, Construction and Tech Geo programs to remain fully operational.”

    The remodel of the historic Benson Polytechnic campus includes a seismic retrofit of the historically significant buildings and complete health and safety upgrades. A few of the design highlights include updated CTE learning spaces and shops, a centrally located student commons/cafeteria connected to an internal courtyard, and remodels of the gym and auditorium. The entire campus has been designed with sustainability in mind; many elements will be reused, over 40 new trees will be planted, and a solar energy array will provide at least 400 kilowatts of renewable energy. The latest construction updates and photos can be found here.

    The new campus will also include a new multi-story building to house the PPS Multiple Pathways to Graduation (MPG) program and will include facilities for Alliance at Benson and Meek, DART/Clinton, Teen Parent Childcare and Services, Reconnection Services and Program. The MPG program seeks to provide educational options for all youth that empower, engage, and prepare them for college, work training, and global citizenship while serving as a vanguard for systemic educational change. For more detailed information about this project please visit the MPG project website.

    The fully modernized Benson and Multiple Pathways to Graduation buildings are scheduled to re-open in the fall of 2024.

    --David Mayne, Bond Communications Manager