SEASIDE — The school bus headed up the logging trails Monday beyond Beerman Creek Road and onto the rocky and rutted hills to the Seaside School District’s new middle and high school campus.
“I used to play out here when I was a child,” Steve Phillips, chairman of the school district’s board of directors, said as excavators nudged and shuttled soil not far away.
A state Department of Environmental Quality permit, received last week, triggered a site permit from the city for grading, excavation, utility work and erosion control, project manager Jim Henry said.
The campus will bring students from three schools located in the tsunami inundation zone to the new location on 89 acres just southeast of Seaside Heights Elementary School.
Gearhart Elementary School students will attend a renovated and expanded Seaside Heights.
A new two-story building will house middle and high school students.
Superintendent Sheila Roley directed groups of school board members, administrators, city staff and the construction team for the groundbreaking, what she described as a “soft opening,” with a more formal event planned for later in the year.
Former Superintendent Doug Dougherty was among those attending the event. Dougherty, who retired in 2016, is widely credited for helping to bring the project to fruition through decades of advocacy.
“It’s amazing to finally see that the project is starting,” he said.