District buys 40 acres in South Hillsboro for a fifth high school

With an eye to future student population growth, the Hillsboro School Board Tuesday unanimously approved the purchase of 40 acres of land for a high school in South Hillsboro for $2.25 million.

The property, which is located at 22520 S.W. Rosedale Road, south of Rosedale Road, is “undesignated” land.

The 1,400-acre South Hillsboro parcel, brought into the urban growth boundary with the “grand bargain” — HB 4078 — hammered out by the Oregon Legislature in February, will have approximately 10,000 new housing units and as many as 3,200 new students when built out, according to school district estimates.

The city of Hillsboro’s South Hillsboro (SoHi) Community Plan calls for up to 11,000 new residential dwellings and mixed use retail and services in a 1,400-acre area that is currently predominantly farmland. The acreage is bordered by Tualatin Valley Highway and Southwest Rosedale Road between Southwest 209th and 229th avenues.

The school district already owns a total of 40 acres in the northern portion of South Hillsboro, adjacent to the existing Rosedale Elementary School. That acreage allows room for three new elementary schools and a middle school. The land was purchased about two years ago, said district spokeswoman Beth Graser.

Construction of the schools, however, will be dependent upon voters approving a bond to fund school construction.

Graser said it is likely the district will place a construction bond on the fall 2018 ballot.

“Hopefully, that will coincide well with how construction in South Hillsboro is going,” she said.

The bond would probably represent a “first wave” of bond money, enough to build three elementary schools, she said.

If a bond is approved by voters, the elementary schools could be completed and ready for students in 2020.

The school district’s Realtor, Ed Hayden, told the board the property was an “excellent investment.”

Had the land been within the urban growth boundary, he said, it would have cost closer to $12 million.

The district currently has the money to make the down payment and the first payment on the land, with plans to use Construction Excise Tax money to pay the remainder.

The district also has an option to buy 10 more acres of land in South Hillsboro, Graser said, to house a fourth elementary school.

In other business, board members gave the go-ahead for an unnamed “local entity” to move forward with fundraising for the construction of a 110,000 square foot baseball/multi-purpose turf field at Evergreen Middle School at no cost to the school district.

Casey Waletich, the district’s director of safety and operations, said another turf field would “help alleviate scheduling concerns” because it would allow for year-round use.

The entity, which Waletich said would become public in the next two weeks, has funding opportunities “coming from outside the community and outside the state.”

Fundraising and construction would likey be a two-year process, he said, with the school district taking on responsibility for maintenance and turf replacement in the future.

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