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City to benefit from sale to Park Academy

by: SUBMITTED - This rendering shows Park Academy's plans for freshening up the facade of the vacant armory building, on the north side of Southshore Boulevard.The Lake Oswego City Council has approved Park Academy’s proposal to convert the former National Guard Armory on Southshore Boulevard into a private school.

The city council gave the project a green light during a regular meeting April 16, and the decision will be finalized May 7.

While there was little discussion about the proposal, a couple of council members spoke in favor of the plan, presented by Chris Goodell of AKS Engineering.

The roughly 23,000-square-foot armory building sits on just more than 5 acres of land and is often mentioned as one of the last available large, buildable lots in the city. The military hasn’t used it since near the end of 2010, around the time its former National Guard occupants moved to Camp Withycombe in Clackamas.

by: SUBMITTED - Park Academy plans to reuse and repurpose the vacant facility, preserving natural resources on the 5-acre site.Goodell said the school plans to preserve 41 percent of the site as open space and to reuse the vacant structure, giving it a brick façade with new landscaping and a play area out back.

“The goal is to maximize the use of the existing facilities and to not alter the site,” Goodell said.

School representatives had struck a deal with the Oregon Military Department to buy the property for about $2.5 million, although the agreement hinged on the city approving a zone change and necessary permits. The planning and development review commissions recommended approval, and the council unanimously agreed.

“I’m just glad you’re staying in Lake Oswego,” Councilor Donna Jordan said.

Added Councilor Mike Kehoe: “It’s an exciting new use for that facility. I’m glad to see it.”

Park Academy draws students with dyslexia and other language learning disabilities from all over the Portland metro area to its existing facility on the Marylhurst University campus, between Lake Oswego and West Linn.by: VERN UYETAKE - The former Oregon National Guard Armory has been vacant since around the end of 2010 and is often mentioned as one of few large, buildable lots in Lake Oswego.

The private nonprofit school opened in 2005 and has since come close to outgrowing its space. Classes take place in a few modular units at Marylhurst University, but the school lacks its own gym, auditorium or library. About 50 students in grades four through 12 are now enrolled.

In the bigger facility, the school could serve up to 120 students. Students could begin classes there as soon as fall 2014.

The potential sale could be a boon for the city government.

Brig. Gen. Mike Caldwell of the Oregon Military Department previously said the sale would be a “partnership deal” with the city of Lake Oswego because of the way the military received the land about 50 years ago.

At one point it was county property, but the county handed it over to the city, and the city then gave it to the military to use as an armory facility. It’s unclear how much money the city could receive when the sale goes through.

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