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Arts magnet school in Beaverton set to move back to Center Street in 2021 after $39M rebuild

BEAVERTON SCHOOL DISTRICT PHOTO - An overhead view shows demolition progress at the site of the Arts & Communication Magnet Academy in Beaverton.Washington County's only arts magnet school may have been demolished, but a new site is expected to rise from the rubble in time for the 2021 school year.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the Arts & Communication Magnet Academy in the Beaverton School District is scheduled this Saturday, Sept. 21. The main building on the campus at Southwest Center Street was torn down earlier this year, to make way for construction of a 75,000-square-foot, two-story school building.

In the interim, ACMA's students and staff have been using a new "swing school" as the school district calls it, on Northwest 118th Avenue, which is slated to open as a middle school.

"The location is fantastic," Bjorn Paige, principal at ACMA, said of the temporary site. "It's certainly enough space for us. We were able to set up three dance studios. We have performance space, the classrooms are so nice. It's been a good transition."

ACMA was opened in 1992. Its reconstruction came with an estimated $39.4 price tag, paid for with 2014 bond money. The school's main building will be new, along with classrooms, a cafeteria, kitchen and other improvements, while old portable buildings that were used as classroom space will be removed. Despite the new construction, ACMA's enrollment capacity won't change, hovering around 725 students.

Paige noted the school is a magnet, or "option" school, which has limited, controlled enrollment. About 720 students are currently enrolled at the magnet school, which serves sixth through 12th grades. Furthermore, the school site's footprint doesn't allow for much building growth, Paige noted.

For now, ACMA students are settling in nicely to the temporary digs at the future middle school site.

"A lot of our programs have actually gotten an upgrade since we moved to this space," Paige said, noting the dance program got more square footage with the move, and a black box theater is big enough to accommodate a cabaret performance.

Site excavation at the old Center Street site started in August after demolition of the main building and removal of the portables. The performing arts center will remain on site.

The existing performance space will attach to the new building.

Photography students have gone without a darkroom for photo processing, but the ACMA principal noted "alternative processing" is being utilized.

If you go...

What: Arts & Communication Magnet Academy groundbreaking

Where: 11375 S.W. Center St., Beaverton

When: 10-11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21

No public parking at ACMA stie. Use the shuttle bus from 3775 SW Hall Blvd for access. Shuttles depart starting at 9 a.m.

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