Faith Bible Christian School moves across town
Students at a private Hillsboro high school are settling into their new home in Tanasbourne, after spending last month packing up their belongings and moving to a new campus across town.
Faith Bible Christian High School's new campus is twice the size of its previous school along Tualatin Valley Highway, which school officials say will meet the growing demand for faith-based learning in Washington County.
Originally established in Aloha, Faith Bible operates a handful of campuses across Washington County, including elementary and middle schools in Aloha and Buxton.
Last month, the high school moved from its longtime home along Tualatin Valley Highway to a commercial building located at 20475 N.W. Amberwood Drive, near Tanasbourne, with an almost night and day facility transition.
The modern and high tech building not only offers students a more professional and advanced learning environment, said superintendent Kevin Rex, but it's also able to accommodate twice the current student body.
"We have been able to upgrade our classrooms, our technology and our infrastructure," Rex said. "It's a much more professional atmosphere which just increases the learning environment."
Enrollment at the school has grown steadily over the last few years, he said, and administrators predict the trend to only continue.
"The last few years, we created a plan looking forward to see what the future of our school would hold, and recognized that we needed to upgrade our facilities and provide for future growth," he said.
The small high school has 170 students enrolled this year, Rex said, with plans to expand to at least 200 this fall. The building can accommodate nearly twice that, he said.
Opened in 1976 in Aloha, Faith Bible has bounced from location to location over the years. Most recently, the school was located along Tualatin Valley Highway near Brookwood Parkway.
Rex said the move to Tanasbourne is closer to where most of the students live. The school draws much of its student-body from the Hillsboro and Beaverton area.
"We landed on this spot because demographically it's a much more convenient location for our families," he said. "We needed a space where, No. 1, we could provide the facilities where we could really enhance our programs, and, No. 2, that we would have room to expand and grow."
While the high school students have transitioned to the new building, the students at Faith Bible's elementary and middle school campus in Aloha will soon benefit too, Rex said.
The younger students will be moving to the school's Tualatin Valley Highway location after renovations wrap up this year.
"We did (the move) mid-year for a couple of reasons," Rex said. "We wanted all of the students — our seniors in particular that have been part of this process the last couple years — to be able to experience it before they graduate, and also to vacate the other space, because we are doing a bunch of renovations there in preparation for the elementary and middle school."
One drawback to the new location: Administrators weren't able to find a location with a gymnasium like the Tualatin Valley Highway campus had, so the high school students will continue to use the old facility for athletic practices.
Rex said the new home offers plenty of amenities the school hasn't had before though, including a 300-seat worship space, Rex said.
"Our direction with the added capacity is just to bring in families that want to be part of this community," he said. "We are a school, certainly, but our first priority is development of character and biblical integration within our kids. The more families we expose to that, the better off."
Rex said there were specific goals in mind for both moves, including improving school security.
"We were very intentional about how we built the security on this (high school) campus," he said. "There are about 30 cameras throughout the building that are monitored in three different locations, and the entire perimeter is shut down electronically. We feel like we have created a really secure environment, and the same will be true at (the other campus), because we are making those same renovations."
While school security has always been a priority, Rex said, recent events — including a swath of school shootings across the country— have pushed administrators to further improve already existing safety measures.
"I think we have to acknowledge the fact that we live in a different time, and we have to be as prepared as we possibly can," Rex said. "I would say it definitely correlates."
By Olivia Singer
Reporter, Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
Follow Olivia at @oliviasingerr
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