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Come see how Medford School District is changing

Conceptual designs to be unveiled at an informational meeting tonight call for a face lift and additional space at North Medford High and a new 253,000-square-foot South Medford High at Cunningham Avenue.

The public meeting is set for 7 p.m. at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School, 3101 McLoughlin Drive.

On display will be the proposed site and floor plans for both high schools, renditions of designs for a new cafeteria at Washington Elementary and an enclosed breezeway at Jefferson Elementary.

Attendees also can view a preliminary floor plan for Lone Pine Elementary, which will be replaced with a new building.

Architects and project managers for bond projects at each of the Medford School District's 18 campuses will be on hand to give information and answer questions.

Information about the projects and regular updates will be posted on the district's Web site beginning Friday. District residents can submit comments about the projects on cards available at the meeting or on the Web site at www.medford.k12.or.us online.

North Medford would get a campus-wide makeover and more commons space under the proposed conceptual design.

"The campus will feel like new and look like a 21st century high school," said Medford schools Superintendent Phil Long.

Exterior surfaces, roofing, interior finishes such as flooring and heating and air-conditioning systems would be replaced. In the meantime, district officials said they plan to repair the school's broken chiller at a cost of $40,000, while construction is under way for the next three and half years. Some construction could begin as early as this summer.

The proposed design for North would create a new independent study space with capacity for 300 people and eight new classrooms attached to the existing media center. The study space would face north, sharing a courtyard with the cafeteria, gym and auditorium. The cafeteria would be remodeled to resemble a commons area and bring in more natural light.

The cafeteria would lose three classrooms, meaning the school would have a net gain of five classrooms after construction.

North Medford's auditorium would be renovated. The gym would get a refurbished floor and new bleachers.

Campus entryways would be added on the northeast side near the visitor's parking lot and on the west side near the arts building.

The design follows an announcement in March that district officials would scrap a plan to demolish four buildings on the sprawled-out North Medford campus and replace them with a two-story centralized structure.

The project was scaled down because engineers had determined the existing buildings are structurally sound, and costs for other projects are higher than anticipated, district officials said.

Under its proposed design, a new South Medford High would be built on 40 acres at Columbus and Cunningham avenues. The front of the two-story, 253,000-square-foot campus would face Cunningham.

"By building two stories, there will be a minimum imprint of the building and allow for more green space," Long said.

On the east end, the school's media center would face Mount McLoughlin and connect two wings of classrooms.

"It'll celebrate the beauty of valley we are in," Long said.

The campus will include a large gym and one auxiliary gym. South Medford's existing three gyms at Oakdale Avenue will continue to be used by district schools.

Construction would begin in the fall of 2008. Price tags are anticipated to be about $79 million at South Medford, including wetland mitigations and road construction, and more than $30 million at North Medford, district officials said.

Voters approved a $189 million bond package for school construction in November. Plans also call for building a new Lone Pine Elementary School on its existing site, renovating Jackson, Oak Grove, Roosevelt, Jackson and Washington elementary schools and repairing or modernizing 11 other campuses.

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or pachen@mailtribune.com.