PORTLAND — A cooperative relationship between Hall Elementary School staff and the general contractor has helped keep the school construction project running smoothly and on schedule over the past six months.

That’s according to Tyler Barter, senior architect at Oak Point Associates, who is overseeing the $29.7 million project to replace the 61-year-old building.

The new Hall School, which will be able to house almost 600 students, is almost entirely paid for with state funding, excluding a $1.4 million local bond.

The design includes a middle school-sized gymnasium, a large cafeteria, new playgrounds and playing fields, outdoor classroom areas and a building orientation that maximizes daylight, along with up-to-date classrooms and project workspace.

Construction began last summer and classes are continuing at the old school while the new one goes up next door.

“We feel so fortunate to be working with (builder) Arthur C. Dudley . They are truly our partners in every aspect of day-to-day school life,” Principal Dawn Kenniston said. “Students continue to be excited to watch the construction develop in our backyard. This supportive relationship has promoted and encouraged the best possible relationship between school life and construction life.”

This week Barter said the project is about 33 percent complete and is on schedule to conclude in September 2018.

“Construction of the new entry on Riggs and Lomond (streets) has been completed,” he said. “Concrete foundations have been (poured) and the building’s structural steel is nearly completed.”

In addition, Barter said, “Over the past month the exterior walls and windows have been started, with a large portion of the building enclosed with temporary heat.”

Over the winter he anticipates that the building “will (really) begin to take shape. Exterior masonry and siding will be installed. The interior of the building will (also) see walls, finishes, mechanical and electrical systems installed.”

“All of these efforts will ensure that there is ample time to complete the building prior to the start of school” next fall, Barter said.

School Board member Laurie Davis of District 3, which includes Hall School, said this week she’s pleased with the progress so far.

“We’ve stayed on the timeline, in fact I think we’re a little bit ahead, so we are in good shape,” Davis said.

While Barter and Kenniston touted the good relationship between the school and the contractor, Davis also complimented the relationship between the School Department and the Maine Department of Education.

“There’s been a wonderful partnership with the state,” she said, which “shows what amazing things we can do when we work together with the state to get a brand-new school designed for the future.”

She said the Hall School Building Committee is on somewhat of a hiatus over the winter, but will resume meeting in the spring as decisions need to be made about purchasing furnishings and other interior details.

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or [email protected]. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KIrishCollins.

Portland’s new Hall Elementary School is going up next door to the elementary school still being used on Orono Road.