By Halie Sofich
The Charter Staff
Alliance Charter Academy (ACA) has used the Park Place Elementary building since its closure in 2009, but not many students know the rich history of the school. It is one of Oregon City’s oldest elementary schools, so why are we in it?
Finding information about the building was a difficult task. We know the current Park Place School was built in 1946. It originally had 15 classrooms, but in 1958, a new wing was added. This could be the modular building (E.S. rooms) in the back of the school, but no one we spoke to is sure.
We reached out to Denice Crombie, who worked at Park Place from 1998 to 2001 and is the mother of two current ACA students, for more information. She told us that the parking lot was just a gravel for the staff to park in, and that fields used to be where the new houses are now. Much has changed since then.
Mrs. Crombie also explained that in 2000, a bond measure was passed that updated multiple schools and built a new high school. At Park Place the World Language and Music rooms were added, along with an elevator. Seismic upgrades were also added. The construction for this started in the summer of 2001.
While in use as an elementary school, there were 330 students enrolled. This number dropped over the years to around 288. According to the Oregonian news article, the school was able to hold 380 students. In 2009, the Oregon School District moved to close the school along with King Elementary due to their costly nature. Closing the schools was predicted to save the city $750,000.
When asked about the closing of the school, Denice Crombie wrote, “…I really enjoyed working with the staff at the school. Most of them had been there for quite some time, and they were like a family… But it made sense to close the school since it had the lowest attendance in the district.”
The district currently rents the building to ACA for use as a charter school. We talked to Mr. Chapin, ACA’s Director, for more information. The school has a standard lease. Additions and modifications to the building must go through an approval process, and the District generally keeps up on maintenance.
“How we take care of the building says a lot about us,” Mr. Chapin said.
The Park Place Building has seen its fair share of students over the years, and it’s the ACA students’ responsibility to advocate for this historic site.
Rendleman, Raymond. “Oregon City School District Closes Two Elementary Schools.” Portland Tribune. N.p., 16 Apr. 2012. Web. 4 Nov. 2016.
Oregonian, Su-jin Yim The. “Oregon City to Close Grade School.” OregonLive.com. N.p., 21 Apr. 2009. Web. 04 Nov. 2016.
Personal Interview, Mr. Chapin.
Email Correspondence, Denice Crombie