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Private school left seeking space

SNOQUALMIE - Mountain View School may be leaving its Snoqualmie building, but it still wants to stay in the Valley.

Mountain View School Administrator Ann Doerfler said the building the school is located in off Newton Street was sold to St. Joseph Catholic School in Issaquah. The deal was finalized Feb. 1, and Mountain View will leave by July 1.

Mountain View, which has 67 students in kindergarten through fifth grade, had been leasing the building since it was first built.

The small private school was started 17 years ago and first met in the American Legion Hall in downtown Snoqualmie. Doerfler, who was one of the original parents who started the school, said it was created out of a desire parents had to place their children into smaller classrooms. Classes at Mountain View are limited to 15 students per teacher, and Doerfler said the extra attention has paid off.

"Our kids go on to do really well in middle school and high school," she said.

Mountain View will continue to offer smaller classrooms in the Valley, although the school is not yet sure where it will be.

"We hope to have a location picked out as soon as we can," Doerfler said.

She added students and staff at the school have been saddened by the move but are looking forward to their new location, wherever it may be. Since the school is merely moving within the Valley and not shutting down or shrinking, Doerfler said the move is just another change to which the school will have to adjust.

"Everyone is looking forward to the transition," Doerfler said. "We are moving forward."

Administrators at St. Joseph said they plan to split their present Issaquah campus in two, with older students coming to Snoqualmie. St. Joseph Principal Jackie Olund said the school has reached its building's capacity with more than 100 students in preschool through sixth grade.

"We are growing," Olund said. "This will give people that live in the Valley a chance for a Catholic education."

Olund said St. Joseph started as a preschool in 1994 and has added a grade level every year since. For the upcoming year, St. Joseph will start its first seventh-grade class, with eighth eighth grade being added in the 2003-2004 school year.

Olund said the school hopes to eventually have about 150 to 160 students at the Snoqualmie campus in grades 3-8.

"It isn't like your neighborhood school," Olund said, "It's a kind of regional concept. The schools will serve the Issaquah-Snoqualmie region as opposed to just Issaquah.

Like Doerfler, Olund said the families and staff at St. Joseph are a little apprehensive about their new location and the commute to Snoqualmie, but remain optimistic about the possibilities for continued growth.

"We did a survey and the parents supported the move," Olund said. "We are doing this because we are growing."

Olund said there are openings in all grades at St. Joseph.

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