Camas Montessori School construction is underway

Goal is to begin classes in new building by fall

There are a few standard rules in life most would agree are good to live by.

One, do unto others as you would have done unto you. Two, always wear your seatbelt. Three, assume most construction projects will take three times longer than expected.

The latter happened with Camas Montessori School, which was set to break ground at its property at Northeast Everett Street and 23rd Avenue nearly two years ago.

“Developing a property can be extremely complicated,” said Donna Hargrave, school administrator. “I am just glad it is almost done.”

During the process, a new contractor was hired and the school was required to apply for a new construction loan, which delayed the project substantially. So far, it has cost $800,000.

Hargrave is seeking donations of deck lumber, a refrigerator, paint and playground chips.

“Anything helps,” she said. “Our families are very excited to move into the new building.”

The new site will have three classrooms, storage areas, and an office. There will be room for up to 80 children. However, when the school opens this fall, it will be capped at 60 students. Openings are filling fast, Hargrave noted.

“I am getting nervous because it means we will have to do a lot of moving this summer, but I already have parents who have volunteered to help,” she said.

The new site will also include its own park-like landscaped playground. Michelle Mathis of Learning Landscapes Design in Portland will lead the project.

Hargrave, 59, founded Camas Montessori in 1988 and has rented space from Camas Friends Church on Northeast Third Avenue since 2004. The school serves children ages 2 1/2 to 6 in multi-age classrooms. The philosophy behind it is that learning must focus on the child’s needs, so educational experiences must vary in the kind and degree to challenge each student’s potential.

Hargrave is planning an engraved brick fund-raiser for friends and past families of the school.

“Hopefully, we will create something nice,” she said.