Ground broken on Art Rutkin Elementary School
The Tigard-Tualatin School District is off and running with its plans to construct the district's 11th elementary school, an 80,000-square-foot building that will command a picturesque view of nature.
On May 13, district and other officials broke ground at Art Rutkin Elementary School, located off Southwest Bull Mountain Road, along April Lane, in Tigard.
"It's beautiful," said Tigard-Tualatin Superintendent Sue Rieke-Smith about the site and forthcoming school. "The school is going to have an amazing view."
Rieke-Smith said the groundbreaking not only included members of Rutkin's family, but also administrators, architects, city officials, nearby property owners and others.
Rutkin, a noted Tigard educator who loved the outdoors and nature, died in 2010.
The school is the last major project that will be completed as part of the 2016-17 school district bond.
When finished, the main entrance of the school will be accessed through the southern-most part of the roundabout on Southwest Beef Bend Road in the River Terrace subdivision.
Rieke-Smith said the district is working with Taylor Morrison, developers of River Terrace, to ensure that road entrance on the west side of the property is in place when the school opens.
"It's very purposeful that the school will be nestled as a community school within the River Terrace community," said Rieke-Smith.
The superintendent said great care was taken when they were designing the site, which included not only suggestions from the district's architects, Bora Architecture & Interiors, but also extensive community input from teachers, administrators, community members and more.
Since the school is named after Rutkin, "a legend in our district," the planning process went so far as to look at how it represents the man himself, said Rieke-Smith.
"He founded a beautiful garden at Mary Woodward Elementary that is still thriving to this day. He had international experience with Peace Corps. He was a huge advocate for child literacy," she said.
At the end of the day, Rieke-Smith said the question became, "How do you then design the building and the use of the property in the area to basically honor who Art was?"
That question is expressed in the building's design.
"Where the library and great room will be built, it will take full advantage of that view, as well as the natural light," said Rieke-Smith. "And that's the other piece about this school is it's very much made nature-friendly, taking advantage as much as possible of the green space and how the light plays."
In addition to its architecture, Art Rutkin Elementary will be the first school in the district containing intentional space for both a preschool and pre-kindergarten. Rieke-Smith said the intent is to include such space with all future elementary schools in the district.
The school will occupy about half of the 20-acre property off Bull Mountain Road that the Tigard-Tualatin School District owns. What will be done with the remaining 10 acres, which are located east of the school's footprint, remains to be determined.
Rieke-Smith said plans are to begin talking soon with the community about boundary and attendance areas for the school as well as beginning to identify a principal and teams that will open the school.
Also, the superintendent said the school district is working with a technical advisory committee from King City, keeping in mind the city's plans to eventually build homes in an area that expands all the way along Beef Bend Road and ends at Roy Rogers Road. Rieke-Smith said the district is working with a demographer to give the district an idea of how many students could be expected from that area once it's built out in the years ahead.
"Art Rutkin Elementary will be a part of that, and certainly as we think about boundaries, that will be part of the consideration as well," Rieke-Smith said.
At present, Deer Creek Elementary School serves King City residents. The school is also part of the Tigard-Tualatin School District and is located within King City limits.
Art Rutkin Elementary will hold between 600 and 650 students.
"We believe the tentative timeline now is to have a construction completed and a turning-over to the district probably the beginning of the year in 2023," said Rieke-Smith.
The school will open to students for the start of the 2023-24 school year.
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