It joins a handful of other local programs at the site off Northwest 185th Avenue

COURTESY OF BEAVERTON SCHOOL DISTRICT - Parents, students and staff members helped move Beavertons School of Science and Technology from Merlo Station High School to the Capital Center during the winter vacation.Returning from winter break was a little different across the Beaverton School District this year as wintry weather cancelled classes and shuffled schedules.

But for the 170 students in Beaverton’s School of Science and Technology, coming back to school this week meant coming to a brand new campus.

Over the break, the options program school for science-focused students moved two miles from its somewhat cramped quarters at Merlo Station High School to newly remodeled classrooms and laboratories at the Capital Center, located at 18640 N.W. Walker Road.

“It looks great. It seems like the kids are really enjoying it,” said Jessica Faust, the district’s project manager for the Capital Center work, which includes a $5 million renovation as well as additional maintenance and district technology projects. “It’s a success.”

At the center, Science and Technology is neighbors with the district’s Health and Science School, a larger option program with about 700 students, and also the Intel STEM Center, which offers advanced education for students in and outside the Beaverton School District.

The programs (at Science and Technology, and Health and Science schools), while taking different approaches, fit nicely together because they both are focused on technology and lab-based learning, said Curtis Semana, an administrator for the options programs at Capital Center.

And Science and Technology students now have easier access to high-level equipment at the Capital Center, such as a scanning electron microscope and engineering equipment for robotics.

“Their missions and visions overlap,” Semana said. “Now, all of our science classrooms have access to complete, up-to-date lab spaces.”

At the Capital Center, science and technology labs are separated from classrooms, meaning students don’t lose as much instructional time setting up and taking down experiments than they did in shared their classrooms at Merlo, Semana said. They also have more equipment and storage areas.

“It’s modeled after a college lab,” he said.

That will be useful for the many Science and Technology students who go on to study engineering, physics and other science and technology fields.

Science and Technology originally was slated to move to Capital Center over the summer, but the project took longer to reach the construction phase than first anticipated. Work was finished in December and parents, students and staff helped make the move during the break.

“A lot of it was coordinated by the parent group,” Semana said. “It looks and feels like a school.”

They celebrated Tuesday (after Monday’s snow day) and then got down to business, he added.

Science and Technology’s move brings the Capital Center up to full capacity.

Smaller student programs also based there are the Community Training Center to teach life skills to students with special needs and, since this fall, the Bridges Academy (formerly Deer Park Academy), which provides education for students who have behavioral or other special needs.

The center off 185th Avenue also houses staff from the district’s Nutritional Services and Teaching and Learning programs.

Seismic upgrades for earthquake safety, re-roofing and heating and air conditioning system upgrades occurred last year. Work on mechanical upgrades and a new district data center is planned for this year, Faust said.

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