PORTLAND, Maine — Portland Public Schools are facing major challenges as it looks to renovate four elementary schools in the city. The school board says it will cost at least $21 million more than expected to complete the project.

Portland residents voted in 2017 to approve a $64 million “Buildings for our Future” bond to renovate four of the city’s public elementary schools.

Lyseth, Longfellow, Reiche, and Presumpscot are the elementary schools set for upgrades. School officials say the change in price for the renovations is due to increasing construction costs.

According to Portland Public School officials, Harriman and Associates, the architectural engineering firm chosen by the city to complete the project, presented a scaled down version of the original plan would cost $85 million to complete. It's believed that if the project were to be completed as originally planned, it would cost $105 million. That's $41 million more than what was approved in 2017. 

Work is already underway at Lyseth Elementary School. It's slated to be done in 2021, however, plans for the school have been scaled to meet the similar budget to the original proposal.

The Portland School board will be discussing the issue at its meeting on Tuesday. That will take place at 6:00 P.M. at Casco Bay High School. Two days later on February 27, the District Advisory Building Committee will review options for scaling the project down. 

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