Warren School campus expanding


Two flatbed semi-trucks delivered a new doublewide modular building to Warren Elementary School last week, in preparation for a third entity on campus.

Warren School has long served students in kindergarten through the third-grade. Also on the grounds is the Education Services District building, which serves special-needs children in south Columbia County.

Soon, the modular will be the permanent base for the Columbia Family School, a charter school that assists families of home-schooled children in first through the eighth grade.

Principal Mike Judah of Warren School sees no problem with the addition of the family school to the campus.

'We have the most room in the district,' said Judah. 'It shouldn't interfere with what we're doing at all.' The campus is part of the Scappoose School District.

Principal Anita Ott of the family school couldn't be happier about the move. Because of recent growth in the district, the family school had to squeeze down into only one classroom at Otto Petersen School in Scappoose, where they have been located since 2004. With 55 students, that wasn't enough space.

The family school was also using the Scappoose Public Library and the Scappoose School District office building to temporarily accommodate its students as needed.

Ott said school district personnel have always been very supportive, and she is thankful for all the help the family school receives from district staff and the school board. 'We have a good rapport with the district,' Ott said.

Ott had hoped the modular building would be ready this week, but recent heavy rains made the site too wet for heavy equipment.

'I'm only 5 foot 2 inches, and even I was sinking in the mud,' she said, after a recent visit to take pictures. The modular was temporarily set up on blocks in the parking lot, but was moved into its permanent location on Jan. 14.

There was another weather-related delay, as well: Modern Building Systems Inc. is also supplying and setting up modular buildings to the school district in Vernonia, where school facilities were damaged by the December floods.

'That has priority,' said Ott.

The target is now for the family school to be ready for students by the end of January. The timing is very good for moving to the Warren campus, said Ott. With more new homes being built in Scappoose, demand for classroom space will continue to increase.

Although the family school students receive most of their class instruction at home from their parents, three teachers partner with the families in planning curriculum, and there are lessons where the students get together at the school, as well. The classes are divided into first-third, fourth-fifth, and sixth-eighth grades. Students enroll from both the Scappoose and St. Helens school districts.

Charter schools are supported financially by the state at 80 percent of what public schools receive. The Columbia Family School is only the fifth charter school in Oregon, out of a total of 80, which will have its own permanent facility once they complete the move to Warren. Columbia County has one other charter school in operation at the present time, the Arthur Academy in St. Helens.