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Water, sewer beat annexation for new high school outside city

TUALATIN - Tualatin officials may be putting the buggy before the horse in approving services to an area that isn't annexed into the city yet. But the move will ensure that a newly constructed high school, which once built out could accommodate more than 1,000 students, isn't operating on wells and a septic system.

The City Council approved a resolution July 24 that allows for an agreement to provide extraterritorial water and sewer services to Grace Community Church.

The church owns land just south of Norwood Road along Southwest Boones Ferry Road - outside the city limits but inside the Urban Growth Boundary.

The church is constructing a $10.5 million facility for the first phase of its new Horizon Christian High School.

Church officials have submitted a request for annexation of the school site into the city, and a hearing is set for Aug. 28.

But the timeline for annexation is moving too slow for the church, which wants to open the school doors in September. In order to be operational in time, the school needs the basic services of water and sewer.

'It is anticipated that (the council) will approve annexation in August,' read a staff report prepared by city attorney Brenda Braden.

The report continued stating that 'the city and Clean Water Services believe that it is in the best interest of the public health to have the church and school on sewer service, rather than allow the installation of a large septic system in an area where the city is looking at aquifer storage recover.'