Letter to the Editor

As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Prairie High School this year, it’s a good time to reflect on the overall history of Battle Ground Public Schools and the buildings that house our 13,000 students.

To understand the history of BGPS, you have to know a little bit about the history of Clark County school districts in general. From the early 1800s to the early 1900s, the number of school districts in the county expanded from two to as many as 119. In the early years, most school districts consisted of one-room school houses. By 1870, there was a Battle Ground School District (the name was later changed to Crawford) that consisted of 11 students meeting in a building on what is now Battle Ground Lake State Park, near where Captain Strong peacefully met with Chief Umtuch and his band of the Lewis River tribe. Fast forward to 1909 when the Maple Grove District combined with the Dublin School District to create the Central School District.

In 1914 the Central School District was renamed Battle Ground School District No. 85 after consolidating with Cherry Grove. Between 1918 and 1950, there were many more district consolidations. Finally, in 1955, after consolidating with Glenwood, Battle Ground School District No. 119 came into existence. However, it wasn’t until after consolidating with the Yacolt School District in 1975 that our current 285-square-mile boundaries were established.

Today, Battle Ground Public Schools consists of 18 schools, all built or remodeled over the years to accommodate growth and changing programs. Our primary schools serve kindergarten through fourth grade, middle schools serve students in fifth through eighth grades, and high schools serve ninth through 12th grades. Battle Ground also has two alternative schools that serve students in primary, middle and high school.

North Clark County schools

Yacolt Primary is our largest primary school, with an October headcount of 748 students. Built in 1953, the school was remodeled and a gym was added in 1996.

Amboy Middle School was originally built in 1961, with a gym added in 1973. The main building was totally rebuilt in 2008 with funds from the 2005 bond. The building is home to 562 students.

To save planning costs at Tukes Valley Primary and Middle schools, the district used the same model as the Daybreak campus and built “Tukes” in 2008. The primary houses 548 students, and the middle school serves 551 students.

Battle Ground city schools

Battle Ground High School is our oldest and largest school, with 1,667 students this year. BGHS has been remodeled and added on to since its original construction in 1950. The last remodel in 1996 brought the school to its full capacity and provided a larger gym.

“Captain” as it is known, has gone through several different stages of growth and grade-level configurations. Originally built in 1989, the 2005 bond added classrooms and gym space in 2007 to give Captain Strong Primary the capacity to serve its current student population of 642 students.

Next door to Captain, but on a separate campus, is Chief Umtuch Middle School. Built from the ground up with the 2005 bond to replace the aging Lewisville Middle School, “Chief” houses 642 students.

Daybreak schools were built in 2007 with funds from the 2005 bond. Daybreak Primary houses 563 students and shares core facilities with Daybreak Middle School, which has 559 students.

Recently reconfigured from a K-8 school to a K-4 school, Maple Grove Primary is housed in a building that was once used for Maple Grove Middle school. The main building and gym were built in 1990, with some remodeling in 1992 and some upgrades to facilities this year to make it more friendly to its 583 primary-sized students.

With 889 students in grades K-12, RiverHomeLink is our largest parent-partner alternative school. River Homelink was established in 1993 and existed in many buildings in and out of the district before it landed in the old Maple Grove Primary School that was built in 1980.

Established in 1996, CAM Academy utilizes a leased facility. CAM is a parent-partner alternative school serving 483 students in grades 3-12.

South Clark County schools

The original Prairie High School opened in the fall of 1979. Additions were added in 1994 and 1995 with athletic upgrades to the fields and stadiums in the past few years. Prairie is home to 1,403 students.

As our second oldest building constructed in 1956, Glenwood Heights Primary has had minimal additions except for a cafeteria and some upgrades in 1989. After the district redrew attendance boundaries last year, Glenwood now holds 556 students but continues to be the district’s fastest growing school.

Sharing a campus but not facilities with Glenwood is Laurin Middle School. Laurin is the district’s largest and oldest middle school. Built in 1965, with additions in 1979 and a cafeteria in 2008, Laurin serves 716 students and continues to gain students on a monthly basis.

Our western most campus is Pleasant Valley. Built in 1975, the primary school serves 523 students, and the middle school next door has 497 students. 

Finally, Summit View High School is an alternative high school serving 352 students in a building on the CASEE campus.

CASEE consists of three buildings built in 1992. The complex houses its namesake, the Center for Agriculture, Science, and Environmental Education (CASEE) high school STEM program; and the district’s administrative offices, technology department, and Family and Community Resource Center.

Tour our schools Nov. 14

In addition to being where we teach students, our school buildings also serve as assets for the community. If it’s been a while since you’ve had an inside look at our schools, we invite you to join us for a public tour of Prairie High and Pleasant Valley schools on Nov. 14. We are eager to show what our teachers do in the classroom to engage and support students every day. Please sign up online to take the tour: bit.ly/DiscoverBGPS, and see for yourself.

Mark Ross is the superintendent at Battle Ground Public Schools.

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