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Districts online school is virtually ready to open

Tigard-Tualatin School District's new online school will open on schedule, but the first few months won't be at its newly leased Tualatin headquarters, district officials said last week.

Building or no, the Tigard-Tualatin Online Academy will open Feb. 6 - the first day of the spring semester, according to district spokeswoman Susan Stark Haydon, even though its new headquarters in downtown Tualatin won't be ready by then.

'Right now we are saying later this spring,' Stark Haydon said. 'We need approval from the city before we can really start the work.'

The district leased a storefront at 19322 S.W. Mohave Court last month, but until it can be retrofitted, students will meet in the technology lab of the district's headquarters.

The district needs a conditional use permit from the city before it can take over the storefront, because the new school is located in a light manufacturing zone.

An application has not been submitted to the city yet, city officials said, but District Superintendent Rob Saxton said he did not expect any problems with the approval process.

It's still unclear when the location will be ready for students, but as soon as the city gives approval, the district will start on renovations, Stark Haydon said.

'As soon as we know that we can occupy the space, we'll get started,' Stark Haydon said. 'It's just a matter of how long it takes to paint and put down carpet.'

Phone calls every day

It's not clear how many students the school will serve on its first day of class. The district has said that the program will likely start out small but is expected to grow.

'We get phone calls everyday from people interested,' Stark Haydon said. 'One of our main things is to make sure it is financially sustainable. That's what our goal is. Demand is really going to be high. We will probably end up with more kids than we are able to serve with one teacher.'

The brick-and-mortar location for the virtual school will allow students to get help with assignments from teachers and have access to computers. Special events and lessons will be held there as well.

The school is free to students living in the district's boundaries and is meant to draw from the 230 estimated students not currently enrolled in the district, such as homeschoolers and students taking online classes elsewhere.

When finished, the Tualatin building will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.




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