Richland School Board to mull future location of Three Rivers HomeLink on Tuesday

Ty Beaver

June 15, 2014 

The Richland School Board will discuss Tuesday the future location of alternative program Three Rivers HomeLink after postponing talks at its last meeting.

The board heard of additional properties available for purchase that could accommodate a building for the program during a closed-door executive meeting Wednesday.

Several locations have been considered for HomeLink, including a building near two central Richland elementary schools and a lot near playing fields on Wellsian Way. District administrators have told the board that continuing to hold off on a decision makes it less likely HomeLink that could move into its new location in time for the 2015-16 school year.

HomeLink is just one of several projects being paid for by a voter-approved $98 million bond. The program, which has about 400 students, grew rapidly when it began several years ago and is crammed into space it uses at a church near Lewis & Clark Elementary School and River's Edge High School.

The board initially planned for about a 13,000-square-foot modular building for the K-12 program and has looked at building it near Lewis & Clark or at Jason Lee Elementary School or on Wellsian Way at the bottom of Carmichael Hill.

However, building at Lewis & Clark creates logistical problems because that school is undergoing construction for the next year, district officials and architects said.

HomeLink parents and other district residents have opposed the other two sites either because they would threaten playing fields or aren't ideally located for HomeLink students.

Another bond project the board has discussed recently but postponed won't be talked about Tuesday: a new middle school.

A majority of the board sounded ready to move forward with building that school on land on Dallas Road in a proposed development, despite concerns about the relatively remote location.

However, board Chairwoman Phyllis Strickler took the topic off of the board's agenda during its last meeting. Superintendent Rick Schulte told the Herald that a community member had approached the board about another possible location.

Strickler hopes to bring the matter up when the board meets June 24, she said.

The board will meet at noon Tuesday in the Carmichael Middle School library, 620 Thayer Drive.

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