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Tigard district chooses space for new online school

The Tigard-Tualatin School District has found a physical home for its new online school.

Susan Stark Haydon, spokeswoman for the district, said that plans are in the works to lease a building at 19322 S.W. Mohave Court, in Tualatin. The building formerly housed Kelly-Moore Paint.

The 5,596-square-foot building will become the main headquarters for the Tigard-Tualatin Online Academy, a new online school that would allow students to take certain courses online instead of in a traditional classroom.

'We are really excited about the number of classes that we will be able to offer,' Stark Haydon said. 'The nature of the program is set up where students can do a duel program and take classes online and at the school site with a teacher, and at the same time take classes at the regular high school.'

Students enrolled in the online school would take most of their coursework online, but the Tualatin location would allow students to get help with assignments from teachers and have access to computers. In addition to events and lessons that will be held in the building.

'There are some classes like art or P.E. that you need a more hands-on experience as opposed to doing it online,' Stark Haydon said.

The Tualatin location is expected to cost the district about $55,000 for a one-year lease, and is the cheaper of two options the district was considering.

The second option was less than a block away, near the Haggen Food and Pharmacy in Tualatin.

The online school will be free to students living in the district's boundaries and is meant to draw students not currently enrolled in the district, such as homeschoolers and students taking online classes elsewhere.

The Tualatin building will be paid for through property sales, and will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The school is expected to open as early as the spring. School officials held off promoting the online school until the Tualatin location was finalized, Stark Haydon said, and plans are in the works to let students know about the program when they get back to classes in January.

'We will be setting up a website and getting letters out to students that are already doing online instruction (through other programs),' Stark Haydon said. 'There and some students in our schools that are already interested in doing online classes and we have started talking to school councilors so they are aware of it. When they see a kid who might benefit, they can direct them that way.'

Stark Haydon said school that the online school has already gotten some attention from parents and students interested in enrolling.

With the school year more than half finished by the time the online schools kicks off, Stark Haydon said that the school will likely grow slowly.

'There may not be a bunch of people who want to change what they are doing at this point in the year,' Stark Haydon said. 'It will start off small, but grow from there.'

A final lease agreement on the Tualatin building could come by the end of the year, Stark Haydon said, but it could be January before the district can gain access to the building and get it ready for students.