Battle Ground Public Schools’s CAM Academy will be moved slightly south for the 2022-2023 school year, though it won’t be fully settled until 2023, district officials say.
During its March 14 meeting, the BGPS Board of Directors approved a contract for the second phase of engineering for the relocation of the academy from its current location on Onsdorff Road to the district’s Lewisville campus off of Main Street.
When school begins in the fall, the third grade through high school students at CAM will be housed in existing buildings at the Lewisville campus. This is a departure from initial plans, according to the district, due to “significant delays in the construction supply chain,” stated a letter sent to families on March 15.
In an email, BGPS Communications Officer Rita Sanders said the delivery of the first of three modular buildings intended to house the academy was delayed from early July to Sept. 1. The district expects the building, which will feature 10 classrooms, will be ready for students after winter break, at which time the district will utilize only one of the existing campus buildings for administrative and common areas.
“CAM will look a little different than we intended because of these unforeseen delays, but I want to commend the work of our facilities team, who came with a solution,” BGPS Superintendent Denny Waters said. “If we continue to show patience and understanding, we’ll get through this.”
For the 2023-2024 school year CAM Academy will comprise three modular buildings at the campus, Sanders said. Two of the buildings will have the same number of classrooms as the current Onsdorff location, and the third building will house administrative and common areas. She mentioned the campus will be fenced with access through the main office.
In a January letter, Waters explained the district can’t permanently relocate CAM Academy to the existing buildings at the Lewisville campus due to a requirement in state law which came after the district received state funding for the construction of Chief Umtuch Middle School. In the meantime, the district has been working to secure temporary approval as it moves the academy into a more permanent home.
BGPS has to relocate the school because of a change in ownership at the building. The district had been leasing the building from former CAM Academy teacher Gary Albers before it was purchased by Cornerstone Christian Academy in June. That school intends to use the building to house its new high school program.
Later that month, the district signed a one-year lease with Cornerstone in order to maintain its program at the site as it looked for other facility options. Sanders said in the meantime the district worked on permitting, engineering and ordering what it will need to construct the campus.
Construction for the new buildings on the Lewisville campus is expected to cost more than $10 million. It will be paid by school impact fees the district collects on new development in the district which is restricted to be used to accommodate growth. So far, the district has spent close to $200,000 on work including engineering.
In the January letter, Waters noted the planned construction of a road to the north of the campus. He said the relocation takes into account that development, which will be used for traffic exiting CAM Academy.
Sanders acknowledged that not having the planned timeline for CAM may be disappointing for families.
“Everyone in the construction industry has been grappling with the impacts of COVID-19, including a lack of workers and delays in getting materials,” she said.
Sanders noted district staff were able to be creative in the face of the delays to make sure the relocation would happen with as little disruption as possible.
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