Harrison Lyseth Elementary School

The Harrison Lyseth Elementary School supports 500 students in grades Pre-K to 5. The building was constructed in the 1950s and had seen little change from its original state. In 2017, the City of Portland passed a $64 million referendum to renovate four of its older elementary schools. The Lyseth school was selected to be the first of these projects.

Harriman began the feasibility and planning process by facilitating a community forum. Guiding principles that resulted from this included enhancing community involvement in the school and its programs, aligning the facility with today’s instructional practices, and strengthening nature-based outdoor connections.

Project Overview

Client

Portland Public Schools

Type

Renovation/Expansion

Size

Renovation – 35,000 square feet
Expansion – 15,000 square feet

Key Contacts

Lisa Sawin, AIA, LEED AP

Additional Information

Designed to achieve LEED Silver


The new design transforms the traditional school with thoughtful organizational updates. Grade level classrooms are clustered around common displays and gathering areas. Social development spaces that include a “nest”, “cave”, and “campfire” provide a variety of informal meeting and learning opportunities. Newly created landscaped courtyards blur the lines between inside and outside.

The full scope of work includes additions and major renovations to create equity among the city’s seven elementary schools. Harriman’s Engineering and Architectural team completed an accelerated six-month feasibility study and design schedule in time for spring bidding and summer construction start. The project is an occupied, 30-month, phased construction.


  • We’re committed to provide our students with an education that inspires a lifelong love of learning and discovery. Thanks to Harriman’s transformative re-imagining of Lyseth Elementary School, we now have an engaging environment that cultivates our educational ideals and is truly a source of pride for our community.

We’d love to work on a project together.