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Edison Elementary Design Determined

Final design will honor the old school building’s history

Design details have been completed and construction will begin soon on the new building for Edison Elementary School.

The Edison Elementary School design team of Mahlum Architects and Robertson Sherwood Architects have completed the design of the new school, meeting district standards, reflecting community input, and incorporating some mementos of the old building into the new. The school designs have been submitted to the City of Eugene for building permit review and approval, bringing the new Edison Elementary School building one step closer to reality.

Constructed in 1926, the original Edison school is the district’s oldest existing building and is nestled on a single city block in the South University residential neighborhood. Creating a new school design to fit the neighborhood and incorporating some salvageable historic or sentimental items from the old building were challenges the design team took on throughout the planning and design process.

Many reusable items have been salvaged from the old building for reuse in our community. Some building materials, from shelves to door handles, are available to the community through BRING Recycling, others will be reused or recycled, while a few notable items will be repurposed more prominently.

Notable items to be salvaged if possible and integrated into the new building and grounds include the five character traits murals, globe light fixtures, a stairwell pendant light, copper-topped exhaust vent cupolas, cornerstone, address numerals, Edison School entryway sign, and a number of bricks from the entryway.

The design team has adjusted the new school’s entryway design to feature an entry arch shape modeled more closely after the existing traditional arch, and incorporated the globe lighting fixtures on either side of the arch from the existing building. The Edison School sign from the entryway, if it is able to be salvaged intact, will be placed on the new building exterior along Onyx Street. The copper-topped exhaust vent cupolas (sometimes thought to be “bell towers”) will be salvaged and reconstructed into a kiosk to shelter the donated Little Free Library, in a small plaza near the community garden, with a retaining wall that incorporates bricks from the original building entryway.

The architects’ renderings featured below showcase views of the school design and a few examples of how the new building will honor the previous Edison’s history. While renderings help envision and understand a design’s team vision, renderings are speculative and the final constructed building may see some minor cosmetic differences.

Construction of the new Edison school building will begin in early 2021 to be completed by fall 2022. Preliminary work has begun with the rerouting of a sanitary sewer mainline around the construction site. Certified contractors have started abatement and will remove any remaining hazardous materials in preparation for demolition later this year. Teachers and staff have been relocated to Edison’s temporary home at the Willard school site.

Voters in Eugene School District 4J resoundingly passed the school bond measure in November 2018 to fund capital improvements for 4J schools. In addition to constructing a new building for Edison Elementary, bond funds will be used to construct new school buildings for North Eugene High School and Camas Ridge Elementary School, expand Gilham Elementary School, and make other capital improvements across the district.


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