Roosevelt High School

Roosevelt High School

Bassetti Architects
Portland, OR, USA
Project Year
Secondary Schools

Reimagining a Historic High School Campus for the Future

Bassetti Architects as Architect and Interior Designer

Roosevelt High School is a diverse, historically rich campus located in the St. Johns neighborhood of North Portland. Home to approximately 1,700 students, the project was constructed in three phases and was planned and constructed while students remained on campus. During conceptual design, the project team generated options to address the inefficient use of existing spaces and sprawling nature of the campus. The revitalized 17-acre campus consists of the original 1921 brick masonry structure, a 1930s-era auditorium, and three new additions (95,985-square-feet of building rehabilitation, 138,956-square-feet of new construction, and removal of 97,550-square-feet of outmoded structures). 

The school’s design was driven by a rigorous master planning process, in conjunction with a strong set of guiding principles that were the backbone for testing ideas and options, and which enabled the school to remain fully occupied during construction. The overarching idea that emerged from these options was the need to link and connect the dispersed elements of the school through a distributed commons that infills the core and creates a central heart to campus. Another aspect of the design was adaptively reusing existing historic spaces for new programs, such as converting the original auditorium into a new media center. This approach allowed for an upgrade to the latest systems and technology, while honoring the historic architecture with a fresh, new perspective. 

The modernization included: 

- Effective, Efficient Learning Spaces. Larger classrooms wired for modern technology. Learning wings that include breakout spaces for group and individualized learning. Teacher offices in the learning wings to facilitate collaboration and distribute student management throughout school.

- Welcoming Environment. The student commons is at the center of the new building, offering a multipurpose learning, gathering, and dining space.

- Career Learning. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math labs for project-based learning from building construction to robotics.

- The Arts. The arts wing features a modern theater, music rooms, and art class-rooms. The original theater became a new library and media center uniting books with technology to teach research skills for the digital era.

- Athletics. The gymnasium’s seating capacity expands and a new auxiliary gym supports activities such as dance and wrestling. 

- Connected to Community. Student and community services such as the health clinic, clothes closet, food pantry, and counseling center are grouped together with a separate entrance for community and after hours use.

- Improved Security. Fewer satellite buildings means better controlled entrances.

- Preserving Historic Character. The original building façade and iconic tower are seismically reinforced and preserved for generations to come.

A new performing arts complex features a state-of-the-art 500-seat theater, black box theater, band and choir room, and additional classrooms. Building on the initiative to provide more Career and Technical Education (CTE), new program spaces support an already successful writing and social justice program, and two flexible makers labs support a variety of integrated arts and engineering programs, including courses in robotics.


Bassetti Architects (Architecture / Interior Design)

BHE Group (Civil Engineer)

C & N Consultants Inc. (Cost Consultant)

Lease Crutcher Lewis (General Contractor)

Mayer / Reed Inc (Landscape Designer)

KPFF Consulting Engineers (Structural Engineer)

PLA Designs Inc.(Theatre Planning)

Cascade Radon, Inc. (Radon Engineer)

i-TEN (BIM/Laser Scan)

GBD Architects Inc. (Land Use Support)

Architectural Resources Group (Historic Consultant)

Angelo Planning Group, Inc. (Land Use Support)

Digital Design & Fabrication Oregon, LLC (CTE Consultant)

Interface Engineering Inc. (Mechanical / Electrical)

JBK Consulting & Design (Kitchen)

Adams Consulting & Estimating (Hardware)

BRC Acoustics & Audiovisual Design (Acoustical / Audio-Visual Design Consultant)

PBS Engineering and Environmental (Hazardous Materials)

Portland Public Schools (Client)

Photography by Jeff Amram

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