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Pleasant Valley Schools Could Become Larger

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The Pleasant Valley school board is considering extending existing schools in order to handle the district's rapid population growth. There are currently around 4,200 students, but Superintendent Jim Spelhaug says it could reach 5,000 students in the next five or six years, with roughly 400 students per class. He says the growth affects the junior high, high school and the five elementary schools.

"We're challenged with growth at every level," he said.

However, he says the district is looking to solve the elementary population issue first. He says one way to handle the increase would be extending Cody School or Bridgeview. Otherwise, they could build a new school on part district, part city-owned land along Forest Grove Rd. However, with $3.5 million to spend on a project per year, he says building the new school would be more expensive than extending a current facility.

"Cost," he said. "Both initial cost and recurring cost."

He says the junior high could exceed capacity by 2018, but the district is prepared and less concerned about that than they are with the other grade levels.

"We do have plans in place to add on to it in a manner that will accommodate reaching class sizes of 400," he said.

He says extending the high school could cause some challenges, as the district might need to borrow money in order to create a "separate but connected" 9th grade center. He says that was a popular option when parents were polled in November 2013.

Spelhaug has tentative plans to meet with an architect next week, in hopes of coming up with costs and timelines for the various options. He is expected to present those to the board at the next meeting in August.

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