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Riverview cuts ribbon on home for alternative schools

With the excitement of a 5-year-old exploring on his first day of school, Riverview School Superintendent Conrad Robertson gave a tour of his district's newest building.

Striding briskly down the hall, he pointed out some of the 14,000 square-foot Riverview Learning Center's best features: a fully equipped science lab, a creative room plus kiln for student potters, adjoining teacher offices between classrooms, multiple computer labs, a parent-teacher meeting room, and, down the home-school program hall, a parent curriculum library and three separate classrooms, one each for elementary, middle school and high school students.

Robertson praised project architects Erickson and McGovern for planning in all of these amenities, then added, "But look at the storage!"

Cupboards line the walls of the classrooms, and each room features a whiteboard-covered "teaching wall." The whiteboards slide on rails to uncoverĀ  floor-to-ceiling cubbyholes and cabinets. Some classrooms in the neighboring Carnation Elementary School were also remodeled to include the teaching walls, and a few teachers moving into their classrooms in late August couldn't quite fill the storage units.

"I have never seen schools built that had enough storage," Robertson said.

Since this building was all new, the district was able to plan it exactly as needed, down to the separate restrooms for the younger children attending the PARADE (Parents and Riverview Actively Delivering Education) program in the home-school wing, and for the older students in the Choice alternative daytime high school program or CLIP (Contracted Learning for Individual Pacing) classes in the evenings.

The school district already owned the property for the building, just north of the district offices, which saved some costs. Also, because Carnation Elementary is so close and can provide lunches, the Riverview Learning Center needed only a smaller serving kitchen rather than a fully equipped school facility. The district also saved money by building only one science lab, in the high school wing. PARADE students can book time in the lab as needed.

"The kids come on different days, so you can serve a lot of students," Robertson said.

The Riverview Learning Center was one of many capital facilities projects funded by a $56 million bond that district voters approved in 2007. Other projects included a major remodel of Carnation, funded partially by state matching funds since the building was more than 20 years old, expansion of the Cherry Valley Elementary School in Duvall, and work on the Tolt Middle School and Cedarcrest High School athletic fields.

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