C.S. Lewis Academy sells portion of Wynooski campus
Since C.S. Lewis Academy consolidated all grades onto its North College Street campus prior to the 2016-2017 school year, the private Christian school's elementary campus at 609 Wynooski Road has gone mostly unused.
That is set to change after CSLA sold just over an acre of the property to local developers Marc Willcuts and Todd Saunders, who plan to construct a 13-lot housing subdivision on the land.
For CSLA, which received the asking price of $420,000 for two lots that total 1.02 acres, the sale means the school can pay off the debt it accrued consolidating and make up for some lost revenue that resulted from a drop in enrollment. The school first put the property on the market in October 2016.
The remaining parcel on Wynooski Road, which features the school building, remains on the market and is listed for $350,000.
"We're debt free and it will give us a little bit of a head start going into this year," Director of Development Steve Wallo said. "There's not a whole lot left over for a rainy day at this point. Given our expectations for this year and everything, with the sale of the next piece that will be really good to set us up for the future."
One of the two parcels, which were combined at one point according to Wallo, roughly corresponds to the bulk of the parking lot behind the school building. The other has frontage on South Columbia Street, kitty corner to the intersection with East Sixth Street, and features the school's performing arts center and a few small storage buildings.
The loss of the performing arts center, more than anything, means that the CSLA drama program will lose its rehearsal space. It also hosted some of its smaller productions there, but is accustomed to using various venues around Newberg.
"We'll have to figure out a way to do rehearsals and getting used to that," Wallo said. "We'll be using our music room here on campus a little bit and whatever we can do to get through. Theater has been a strong part of C.S. Lewis and we want to keep it that way."
Wallo added that the school will likely move the portable classrooms on the property to the North College Street campus and utilize them for STEM classrooms.
"Once the other piece is done, that will allow us to just concentrate on this property and building a school here," Wallo said. "I spent half of my time or more last year just dealing with stuff from that property, whether it was getting desks and furniture and supplies or just trying to organize things to close the place down. A lot of that time can be spent doing things to build the school here. It was worth it, but we'll be glad to eventually be free of that."
Willcuts said that the purchase represents a chance to boost Newberg's stock of "entry-level" single family homes, which he and Saunders recognize as a need in the community. He added that the venture will begin applying for permits with the city of Newberg in the coming months.