Now that voters have approved a $64.3 million bond to renovate Longfellow, Lyseth, Presumpscot and Reiche elementary schools, the Portland Board of Education is figuring out how to organize the building committee that will oversee the projects.

At a workshop Tuesday, the board debated various ways to organize a committee – from simply having the existing Operations Committee take on the work with the help of an advisory committee, to creating a “supercommittee” that would exist for the four-plus years that it will take to complete all the renovations.

Several members emphasized the need for members of the public to be on the building committee, while others cautioned that if the group got too big – Hall School has a 15-member building committee, for example – it could slow down decision making and the time line to get renovations on the first school started by mid-2019.

Reiche parent Emily Figdor, who led the group that backed the four-school bond, said there needed to be significant public involvement – more than the one person from each of the four schools that was suggested in one proposal.

“That is a very minimal role for the public,” she said, noting the Hall Building Committee has 10 members of the public for just one school.

Board Chairwoman Anna Trevorrow said the board would vote on the building committee composition at its Dec. 19 meeting. After that school officials will solicit suggestions for members of the committee. School board members said they hoped to attract members of the public with experience in construction and building design.

Once a building committee is formed, the members will debate – and bring to the full school board for approval – the order in which the schools will be renovated, managing the RFP process and overseeing the project.

Under a tentative time line discussed Tuesday, the committee members would be appointed on Jan. 16, an RFP would be issued in July and awarded in October. Final plans would be approved in June 2019 and renovations on the first school would begin in July 2019.

Noel K. Gallagher can be contacted at 791-6387 or at:

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