Students, teachers settling in to CAM Academy’s temporary space

Oct. 27, 2022

FAST FACTS:

  • CAM Academy relocated to the former Lewisville Intermediate building over the summer
  • Students and teachers say they appreciate the extra space and upgrades to the building
  • Permanent modular classrooms are being constructed and will be moved to the campus over the winter and next summer
  • Construction costs are covered by school impact fees

After a brief adjustment period, students and teachers at CAM Academy are “settling in nicely,” according to Principal Ryan Cowl.

“They’ve had to do a lot of fixes along the way,” said Eric Harpe, a high school science teacher at the school, “but things are working pretty well now.”

“We really enjoy our new campus,” added eighth grader Elyse Cowl. “It has been such a nice change.”

Following the sale of CAM’s longtime building, the district worked with CAM Academy families and community stakeholders to find a new home for the alternative school, ultimately settling on installing a series of modular classrooms on the Lewisville campus to the east of the old building. In the meantime, the district received state approval to use Lewisville temporarily for students. The campus was retired from student use when the district received state funds to replace the school with Chief Umtuch. Crews replaced miles of wiring and plumbing, installed new sinks and toilets, upgraded lighting, added a fresh coat of paint, improved exterior walkways and much more to prepare for students this fall.

“I like the building,” said Angela Borges, a sixth grade teacher at CAM. “I feel like it’s nice and spacious and the kids do really well here.”

The district had originally hoped to have the first modular building with 10 classrooms and three science labs in place before winter break, but supply chain issues have moved the timeline into early 2023. Meanwhile, work continues on site improvements including new drainage, lighting, sanitary sewer and parking improvements.

Principal Cowl said teachers and families are excited to see the construction nearby. “We can see that there’s now a foundation in place, and so we’re just waiting on installation of the building that’s being constructed currently.”

A total of three modular buildings will be installed east of the Lewisville building prior to the start of the 2023-24 school year. New sports fields, fencing and other enhancements are also planned for the property and land northwest of District Stadium at Battle Ground High School.

Teachers have been able to help with plans for the new buildings and even pick from a selection of paint colors for their classrooms. “We’ll be going from a single sink for an entire classroom to, I think, six sinks for our lab,” Harpe said, “so there are a lot of improvements headed our way.”

Virginia Paso, an 8th grader at CAM, sometimes uses crutches. In the old building, getting to a restroom from the upper floor required a long trek outside and around the building to get to the ground floor.

“I’m excited to be able to just walk outside of my classroom and find a restroom,” said Paso. “I’m also really excited to have new drinking fountains. We had them in the old building, but they weren’t the best.”

Construction costs for the relocation of CAM Academy are funded through the use of school impact fees paid by developers. The district will also realize cost savings of more than $500,000 annually by no longer having to lease space for the program.

Elyse Cowl and Paso also wanted to thank the district’s school board, the crews who worked on the relocation and the community for supporting their relocation and making sure CAM continues to offer excellent education for families who choose to attend.

“Thank you for everything you’ve done, all of your hard work,” both students said. “All of your support. We really appreciate it.”

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