New Camas high school shifts into high gear

School Board approves $32.5 million contract

With a contract approval, Discovery High School is moving from concept to reality.

The Camas School Board unanimously approved the $32.4 million contract with Robinson Construction Company at its Monday, May 22 meeting.

The 500-student high school will join Odyssey Middle School, which opened in the fall of 2016. It currently houses approximately 200 students.

Both are located on the same campus at Pacific Rim Drive, next to the Sharp Labs of the Americas building.

Project-based learning is a focus at the campus. It involves students gathering into teams and using critical thinking, collaboration and communication to solve problems, as opposed to sitting in a classroom, memorizing facts, and taking tests.

In a PBL classroom, students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a question, problem or challenge. Projects address content standards through an integrated approach.

“At the project based learning high school, our students will learn to collaborate, create, design, and problem-solve through project work with real world problems,” said Julie Rotz, board president. “The school itself has been designed to enhance collaboration, creativity and help students thrive. I am enthusiastic about the opportunity it provides to our students in preparing them for life beyond high school.”

Heidi Rosenberg, capital programs director, notes that construction includes on-site parking and an amphitheater. Construction is being funded through a $120 million, voter-approved bond.

“Discovery will utilize the project based learning style of education that was initiated this school year at the middle school level,” she said.

Funds to purchase the property came from the voter-approved, $120 million bond. Construction will begin this summer. The concept for the PBL campus began two years ago, as the school district was preparing to put a bond before voters.

Jeff Snell, Camas superintendent, notes that the world students will enter post high school is far different than in times past.

“Our global economy is calling for employees who can collaborate, create, design, and problem-solve more than ever,” he said. “If we wish to prepare a generation of students who can solve real-world problems, we must give them real-world problems to solve.

He continues, “If we want to graduate students who can manage their time and collaborate with others, we must give them guidance and practice managing their time and collaborating with others.”