August 27, 2013

Portland finds homes for West Program, adult ed

Former school buildings in Falmouth and Portland will house the two Portland programs.

By Noel K. Gallagher ngallagher@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — The school board has approved housing Portland's program for special-needs students in a former school in Falmouth and moving Portland Adult Education to the former Cathedral School downtown.

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The former Cathedral Grammar School will be the new home for Portland Adult Ed.

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Portland's West Program will move into the Sampson D. Plummer School in Falmouth for the 2013-14 school year.

John Patriquin / Staff Photographer

The two programs operated in the former West School until that building's failing condition forced them to move out in June.

The West Program, which serves about 40 students, will move into the former Plummer School in Falmouth. Portland will lease the property for $75,000 for 10 months from its owner, the Ocean View at Falmouth Retirement Community.

"The building is in good shape and it is well suited for our purposes," said Sharon Pray, special services director for the district.

The program serves students with autism and other special needs, and the building has enough space for those students to take breaks, she said.

The district will provide transportation to Falmouth, officials said.

Since late February, the district has been leasing the former Cathedral School to house the West Program. Now, Portland Adult Education will hold academic classes there.

The adult education program's job skills and enrichment courses will remain at the Riverton Elementary School.

Adult education classes are scheduled to begin Sept. 16. Portland Adult Education reaches more than 4,000 people each year, teaching English language skills, giving GED testing and teaching job skills.

"Our staff worked diligently for months to find space for the two programs and we considered more than a dozen possible locations," said Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk.

"This is a wonderful outcome that will benefit both the students in the West Program and those in adult education classes."

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

ngallagher@pressherald.com

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