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Since You Asked: Old SMHS campus plans uncertain

With all the approvals done for the new South Medford High School to be built, a lot of people I've talked with have wondered what the old building will be used for. I was hoping maybe you would know what they intend to do with the old building once it stops functioning as a high school.

— Jeremy B., Medford

The fate of the existing South Medford High School campus at South Oakdale Avenue has not yet been decided. We're hoping it could become palatial new digs for the Since You Asked Hive Mind; our cave is getting somewhat dank.

The $189 million bond issue voters approved in November 2006 included authorization to renovate the existing high school to house warehousing, purchasing, maintenance and other ancillary services.

However, because the prices for renovating and constructing schools have been higher than forecast when the bond package was crafted, there is not enough money in the budget to renovate the 77-year-old high school.

If any money is left after all the bond projects are complete in late 2010 or early 2011, they could be dedicated to renovating the current home of the Panthers. If the schedule holds, the SMHS campus will be vacant in fall 2010 or the following spring.

A decision likely won't be made until the new high school is constructed, said Medford schools Superintendent Phil Long.

Some of the options for the old South Medford include serving as central office for administration, purchasing, warehousing, maintenance and technology and housing the Medford Opportunity alternative high school, now at the CrossRoads School at Earhart Street in Medford. The building could also be leased out to community groups.

The only set plan for the campus is that Spiegelberg Stadium will continue to host North Medford and South Medford football matches, serving as neutral ground for the sister schools and rivals.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We get so many questions we can't answer them all, but we'll try.