School Board to vote on site for future high school

Decision on whether to use the Sharp campus will be made at a future meeting

Most patrons who spoke at a public hearing or participated in an online survey are in favor of moving the Camas School District’s new project-based high school.

The current proposed site for the 500-student school is on the campus of Camas High School at 26900 S.E. 15th St. However, the district is now determining if the Sharp Laboratories of America property is a viable option instead.

The Camas School Board hosted a public hearing Monday to gather citizen input.

“I support moving the new high school to the Sharp campus for the strength of the program,” said Karen Montovino.

She served on a committee that met last spring and summer to study the district’s facilities challenges and make recommendations for a bond.

“Educationally, this will allow for collaboration and sharing of staff, and also alleviate the crowding at Camas High School,” Montovino said. “This is the right move.”

Alicia Brazington co-chaired the committee and reached out to parent groups in the district to gather input on the potential location change.

“Hands down, people thought this made sense, even if I was very direct with them and just asked, ‘Hey, what do you think of this?’ For those reasons, I support the Sharp move.”

The district is in the final stages of closing the $12.5 million transaction to purchase the Sharp property, located at 5750 N.W. Pacific Rim Blvd., to house its middle school project-based learning program. It includes a 55,000-square-foot building and surrounding 31 acres.

Originally, the plan was to locate the project-based high school on the CHS campus, so that students would have the opportunity to share staff, ease transportation costs, and allow students to easily participate in “crossover” courses such as Advanced Placement, electives and P.E.

Brian Connelly, a father to a sixth-grader at Skyridge Middle School, noted that he is a proponent of the middle school program at the Sharp campus.

“But I am only slightly in favor of locating the high school there,” he said. “It feels like an unnecessary rush given budgets, transportation and other logistics. I urge the district to step on the brakes a little bit.”

The possibility of using the Sharp campus for the high school program as well as the middle school program, is a question that came up during the purchase discussions.

Earlier this month, the district received feedback from 409 district patrons who participated in an online survey and two listening posts.

Of those who participated, 76.8 percent were in favor of moving the project-based high school from the CHS campus to the Sharp campus. Only 23.2 percent wanted it to remain at CHS, as originally planned in a voter-approved bond.

The School Board will decide on the site of the high school at a future board meeting.