If they build it, she will come. Audrey Oakes spends two hours a day chauffeuring her boys... fifth-grader and an eighth-grader ...
If they build it, she will come.
Audrey Oakes spends two hours a day chauffeuring her boys — a fifth-grader and an eighth-grader — from their home in Renton to schools in Auburn and Covington.
Next year, she’ll have to shuttle her older son to high school near Black Diamond, which is even farther.
Imagining a day when she could make a single trip for both kids is one reason she’s eager to support Rainier Christian Schools’ plan to build its first preschool- to 12th-grade campus on a 53-acre former missile site in the Renton area.
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“It’s awesome,” said Oakes, chairwoman of the Rainier Christian Middle School Parent Teacher Fellowship. “It’s a marvelous thing for those children to be able to continue their education with more convenience, more space and more facilities.”
The 930-student Rainier Christian Schools — one of the largest Christian school districts in the state — hopes to break ground on the 1,000-student campus within the next five years, district Superintendent Blair Bryant said.
The project, expected to cost $8 million to $10 million, would mean adding playfields and classrooms to Rainier Christian Schools and Maple Valley Elementary and building around the district’s administrative and transportation offices, both on the site for the new campus.
The move is part of a 30-year plan to create three such campuses to offer a Christian education to communities around a growing South King County, Bryant said.
The district runs a high school, a middle school and three elementaries with preschools at five locations in the Auburn, Covington and Renton areas.
Rainier Christian Schools — which acquired use of the elementary school’s eight-acre parcel, part of a Cold War-era missile-defense site, in 1972 through the Department of Education’s surplus-property program — now owns the land.
Five years ago, the district secured an adjacent 34-acre parcel through the same program, said Glenn Olson, the district’s development director.
Over the years, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Washington state Department of Ecology have made sure that the site, which once held missiles in underground cavities, is safe — and that all hazardous materials, such as lead-based paint, have been removed, he said.
Rainier Christian Schools expects to buy the remaining 11 acres that it leases from the Kent School District by the end of this school year, Olson said.
Judy Chia Hui Hsu: 206-464-3315 or email@example.com