Saying goodbye to Westside Christian
WCHS reopens in Tigard in January
Westside Christian High School is vacating its building in Lake Oswego this month and opening in Tigard next month.
By Friday, most everything will be packed up at the local site at 4565 Carman Drive, and, on Jan. 9, Westside Christian will reopen at its developing campus at the intersection of Highways 217 and 99.
Steve Pringle, interim principal at the private school, joked with the staff in a recent faculty meeting about preparing for the move: I said: You can go on Christmas break when everythings packed.
With its move, the school is expanding and going through something of a role reversal, growing out of a building it leases from Lake Bible Church. Westside bought its new building from the City Bible Church, which will lease space at the site.
Its nice having (the new site) kind of close, so its not as drastic a move, said Micaiah Fischer, a Westside junior. Its going to be nice to have a building of our own.
The total cost for the first phase of the project is $12.2 million, and the building is being renovated to accommodate the school and is about twice the size of the schools current digs.
Senior Sean Balsiger said hes excited about being in a new place thats bigger and better.
Art teacher Chelsea Witkowski said the school owns a kiln but doesnt use it for lack of space, but shell be able to fire it up at the new place in Tigard. Witkowski said having more room would make adding a sculpture class feasible. But she will miss the little city by the lake.
The school has been a part of Lake Oswego for a long time, so I will miss it, said Witkowski, also a Westside graduate.
Westsides been in Lake Oswego since 1992, when the school had about 150 students, and there are now about 200 students. It had 10 students when it opened in 1981 where Riverdale High School stands today.
Academic Dean Scott Ball said he is looking forward to having more room and space created for a specific purpose. There will be three science classrooms. At the Lake Bible Church site, theres one classroom with a proper science setup and two ordinary classrooms doctored to resemble science rooms. Ball, who is in his 19th year at Westside, said he is pleased there will be a specific location for the gym instead of having a converted classroom. He added that the church uses the building on evenings and weekends, limiting what school activities can occur when class is out.
I just think this will be a real positive for our enrollment, for people to say, Oh, this looks like a school, Ball said. Its not just tucked into a church building, Ball said.
The existing City Bible Church building was 35,965 square feet, and the school added 12,477 square feet with the addition of a library, science rooms, a fitness room, offices and commons area. Another 12,575 square feet will be added with the advent of a gym and locker rooms; construction is slated to start early next year, said Norm Dull, principal of Dull Olson and Weekes-IBI Group Architects, which is handling the architecture for the project.
Witkowski is excited about having a fine home for her school, a lasting place to come to later on down the road thats very special.
Jillian Daley can be reached at email@example.com and 503-636-1281, ext. 109. Follow her on Twitter, @jilliandaley.Add a comment