WCHS reopens in Tigard in January

Westside seniors Meleah Williamson, left, and Sarah Curtis help out during moving week. 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 everything’s packed.” by: REVIEW PHOTOS: VERN UYETAKE - Westside Academic Dean Scott Ball helped prepare for the big move this week.

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.

“It’s nice having (the new site) kind of close, so it’s not as drastic a move,” said Micaiah Fischer, a Westside junior. “It’s 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 school’s current digs.Westside art teacher Chelsea Witkowski prepped for the Christmas Concert and Winter Art Show, which was held Monday.

Senior Sean Balsiger said he’s excited about “being in a new place that’s bigger and better.”

Art teacher Chelsea Witkowski said the school owns a kiln but doesn’t use it for lack of space, but she’ll 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.

Westside’s 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.

Westside Interim Principal Steve Pringle poses by a school sign.

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, there’s 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. “It’s 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 — that’s very special.”

Jillian Daley can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 109. Follow her on Twitter, @jilliandaley.

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