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EHCS still looking for permanent site

October fire displaced school

Nicole Wollenweber

Nicole Wollenweber

January 28, 2014

McMINNVILLE — Eola Hills Charter School is continuing its search to find a permanent location to hold classes starting next school year, but isn't having much luck.

The biggest issue is finding available property zoned for school use within the Amity School District, EHCS's home district.

"Without property zoned for school use already in place, we are going to have to convince someone to rezone part of their property for us to rent," said EHCS Principal Nicole Wollen-weber.

No one has stepped forward yet.

EHCS is temporarily holding classes on Willamette Education Service District's McMinnville Creekside Campus after a fire destroyed its former building, which was located on Bethel Road in Polk County, in October.

Following the fire, the school was overwhelmed by support, donations and offers of places to hold classes on a temporary basis.

Eola Hills Charter School's next time step, finding a new school, isn't coming as easily — and time is running out to find a location.

The state granted the school a waiver to hold classes outside its home district for the remainder of the year, but having the waiver extended is unlikely, Wollenweber said.

"If the school can't find a location by the end of the school year, we have very few options," she said.

In addition, it looks as though the school would need to not only find property zoned for school use, but also a suitable building. EHCS had been given the option of purchasing and moving the modular buildings it is currently using, but that may be out of the question.

"We have been told that it would cost more to repair the buildings from the damage of moving them than they would be worth and more than we can afford," she said.

Wollenweber said the most likely scenario, as the current school year reaches its midpoint, is finding another temporary location for the 2014-15 school year, but within the Amity district.

"All of those businesses, churches and individuals that opened up their hearts and building space to us before, we would love to hear from them again," Wollenweber said.

For those wishing to donate to the school, a list of needs is on the school website, www.eolahillscharterschool.com.

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