The Olympia City Council on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to a plan to annex 8.69 acres off Boulevard Road for a new location for the Olympia Regional Learning Academy.
Final approval will require a second council vote, and potentially a review by the Thurston County Boundary Review Board, which may be waived.
The Olympia School District requested the annexation to be assured of city services on the site, including utilities, fire and police.
Tim Byrne, facilities manager for the district, said he “couldn’t think of any cons at all of doing this annexation.”
The annexed property, located off 1412 Boulevard Road SE at the former McKinley Elementary School site, is owned by the school district and Thurston County. The site is currently home to the Eastside Co-Op Preschool, which would be relocated temporarily, Byrne said.
Proponents dropped an earlier idea to annex a larger area.
Officials want to begin constructing the 66,000-square-foot facility by fall. ORLA is now housed in the former John Rogers Elementary School building, 2001 26th Ave. NE.
It offers three alternative programs:
• Homeschool Connect, an enrichment program for homeschooled children.
• IConnect Academy, an online school for grades 6-12.
• ORLA Montessori for kids in kindergarten through fourth grade. A fifth grade is planned for the fall.
A city staff report says that the school will not provide the city with an expanded tax base because such properties are tax-exempt. But the city will receive land-use and building permit fees, as well as transportation impact fees. The Olympia School District would also pay for city utilities.
Council members had some reservations about the proposed design of the school property, in which the school is fronted by a large parking lot. Mayor Stephen Buxbaum said he was concerned about pedestrian and bicycle access.
Matt Batcheldor: 360-704-6869 firstname.lastname@example.org @mattbatcheldor