Room 22 at Presumpscot Elementary School isn’t actually in the school. It’s in a tired-looking double-wide trailer out back, with missing blinds and a light that hasn’t worked since water damage two years ago. A strip of wood in the center of the ceiling hangs down.

There’s no bathroom, so students as young as first grade have to go back into the main building, even in the snow and rain.

Oh, and there’s a problem with carpenter ants in the ceiling, according to a handwritten note on the wall.

City and school officials saw Room 22 on Wednesday as they toured Presumpscot and Lyseth elementary schools in Portland. They were there to get a firsthand look at conditions that led the school board to recommend a $70 million bond to renovate Presumpscot, Longfellow, Lyseth and Reiche elementary schools.

The principals at both schools emphasized that they have done the best they can with existing space, carving offices out of closets, and classrooms out of hallways and former staff rooms. Many rooms are cramped, with insufficient heat, air flow or natural light.

“My child was in this (pre-k) classroom,” Presumpscot parent Aura Russell-Bedder said in a windowless room with two skylights. When parents were invited in, they sweltered in the small space, she said. “The body heat in this space … was pretty insane.”

The committee, made up of city councilors and school board members, was created July 6 by the City Council after the school board voted to recommend that the council schedule a referendum on a $70 million bond issue to rebuild the four schools.

Supporters had hoped to get it on the November ballot, but councilors said they needed more information before putting the issue to voters. The tour, officials said, was to bring them all together to hear from the school leaders about what was needed.

The schools were all built 40 to 60 years ago.

Supporters say the $70 million would largely be spent on practical fixes, such as installing functional heating and windows that open, making schools accessible for all users, eliminating use of trailers for classrooms and easing severe overcrowding.

At Presumpscot, the music room and the art room are in the same space, and when they both need it at the same time, the school closes the library so it can be a temporary class space, principal Cynthia Loring said. Her top priority, she said, was getting more flexible space.

At Lyseth, principal Lenore Williams noted several improvements over the years, from a new roof to asbestos abatement. But she also emphasized the need for more space.

“It’s not decaying or decrepit,” she said, “But we don’t have adequate learning spaces.”

At both schools, the gym doubles as the cafeteria and both use trailers for classroom space.

Standing in an alcove that was once a short hallway to an exit, Williams explained that it is now the literacy “classroom” and space for the gifted and talented teacher.

“I think it’s obvious this is not the way we should be meeting the needs of our neediest students,” she said, noting that it took permission from the fire department to turn an exit into a classroom. “I guess it’s a testament to our resilience,” she said, looking around the space.

Later, outside the main building, she showed the group the modular buildings.

“I think the modulars speak for themselves,” she said, pointing out the frayed boards at the base of the trailer, and plucking at chicken wire nailed over the windows. “That’s our vandalism protection,” she said.

Critics say the bond amount is too high, and some renovations are more luxury than necessity, such as extra storage and new parking lots, roads and fields.

Mayor Ethan Strimling said after the tours that it was “impressive” what the school leaders had done, “but we can’t be satisfied with making do.”

“I think the people of Portland want state-of-the-art schools,” he said.

The committee will tour Reiche and Longfellow on Aug. 22, starting at 5 p.m. On Aug. 30, the committee will be briefed on detailed school-level changes being proposed, at a 5 p.m. meeting at City Hall.