The Beaverton School Board has agreed to transfer 2.14 acres of land adjacent to the new Bonny Slope Elementary School to the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District in exchange for the equivalent of $1 million in improvements made to school athletic fields.

On April 7, the School Board approved the land exchange to the park district.

An article in last week's Valley Times failed to mention the value of the improvements the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District will make.

The land is located on the north side of the school site and contains a 50-foot elevation drop from the southeast to the northwest corner of the property.

As part of the exchange, THPRD has agreed to spend an estimated $175,000 of the $1 million of improvements for easement access through a neighboring property and trail development from Northwest 117th Drive to the northern edge of the Bonny Slope campus.

Also, the park district will make improvements to athletic fields at Sunset, Aloha, Southridge and Westview high schools.

Barry Raber and other residents near the new Bonny Slope Elementary School had been lobbying for almost two years to ensure that the property, which the school district determined they couldn't build on, become a community park. Plans are to place trails throughout the acreage.

Raber said he was pleased with the agreement.

'We wanted to see it become a park versus more houses,' said Raber. 'It also will enable all the neighborhood to access the school through walking paths.'

Doug Menke, Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District general manager, said plans are to hold a neighborhood meeting to show residents a conceptional plan for the park land.

Menke praised the community and neighbors who pushed for the property to become a neighborhood park saying, 'it was really an amazing development' that they pushed for THPRD to take over the property.

The Beaverton School District had the property appraised at between $1.17 million and $1.26 million, an appraisal completed in November 2006 when the real estate market was stronger, according to Bud Moore, the school district's deputy superintendent for operations and support services.

The park district's appraisal came in at $1 million.

'We compromised between their appraisal and ours,' said Menke.

Several years ago, the district purchased four parcels of a little more than 10 acres of land in order to secure property for what will become Bonny Slope Elementary School. The school, which will accommodate up to 600 students, will open in September 2008.

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