Cornerstone Christian Academy acquires CAM Academy building in Battle Ground

Battle Ground School District expected to continue to lease the building for 2021-22 school year

Cornerstone Christian Academy has found a new home and officials in the Battle Ground School District will be looking for a new home for CAM Academy.

Cornerstone Christian Academy has purchased the CAM Academy building in Battle Ground from its private owner. File photo
Cornerstone Christian Academy has purchased the CAM Academy building in Battle Ground from its private owner. File photo

Earlier this week, leadership at Cornerstone Christian and Battle Ground Public Schools announced the sale of the CAM Academy school building to Cornerstone. According to Cornerstone Superintendent Sandra Yager, the sale on the property at 715 NW Onsdorff Blvd. in Battle Ground closed on June 1.

Cornerstone Superintendent Sandra Yager
Cornerstone Superintendent Sandra Yager

“It’s a great gift,’’ Yager told Clark County Today Thursday.

Cornerstone officials and staff have been searching for a new facility for years. The school, originally located on the property of Crossroads Community Church at 7708 NE 78th St. Vancouver, has operated for the past three years at its current location at 10818 NE 117th Ave. in Vancouver.

Recently, Cornerstone has been forced to add portable classrooms at its current location, which services 110 students in its early education program and about 250 students in grades K-8. The Battle Ground location currently serves as home to 521 CAM Academy students.

Yager said a condition of the sale is for Cornerstone to lease the CAM Academy building to the Battle Ground School District (BGSD) for the 2021-22 school year. Battle Ground Superintendent Mark Ross confirmed that in a letter to CAM Academy families earlier this week.

“We are hopeful that we can come to an agreement that will allow the district to continue using the building next school year while the Board of Directors and district seek input from CAM Academy families and the community as it considers the options,’’ Ross wrote in the letter.

The BGSD has leased the CAM Academy the 35,000-square-foot building from previous owner Gary Albers since the alternative school was started in 1996. Albers has also been a faculty member at CAM Academy.

Ross revealed this week that the current lease is $42,770 per month, which totals $513,240 for the 2020-21 school year from Sept. 1, 2020-Aug. 31, 2021. The BGSD Board of Directors discusses and makes decisions about property leases at its meetings.

Cornerstone’s transition

Yager said that Cornerstone officials are still working out the details of the transition to the Battle Ground location for the 2022-23 school year. She said the intention was to build a permanent building at the school’s current location but about 18 months ago they began considering the CAM Academy building.

Yager added that on March 26, an unidentified benefactor stepped forward with a pledge to provide the funding for the purchase of the Battle Ground building in full over the next 12 months.

Yager indicated that the early education students will likely remain at the school’s current location beyond the 2021-22 school year. The K-8 students will likely all move to the Battle Ground location in 2022-23.

“We will work with our families and our staff to find what is the best way to do it,’’ Yager said.

In the fall, Cornerstone will begin accepting high school students. Yager said she anticipates no more than 20 high school students for the 2021-22 school year and they will use space at King’s Way Christian School for at least that first year.

Yager said Cornerstone prides itself on the technology provided to students in their classrooms. She said the school will make the necessary investment to make sure the classrooms at the Battle Ground location will offer the same level of technology currently offered.

CAM Academy

CAM, which stands for Character and Academics for the Marketplace, was started in 1996. CAM was established in 1996 to provide both a high school continuation program for HomeLink families and a public school option for families who would otherwise choose private or homeschooling.

By all accounts, CAM Academy has been hugely successful. According to the OSPI report card shared on the Battle Ground Public Schools website, CAM Academy currently has 521 students enrolled and 96.4 percent of those students regularly attend. The district spends $9,456 per student, 93 percent of whom graduate within four years. A total of 82.6 percent of CAM students met state math standards and 87.7 percent met language arts standards. CAM Academy currently has 21 classroom teachers with an average of 20 years experience.. 

In early 2018, Albers offered to sell the building to the school district at a cost of $3.5 million, but the board voted against it, citing issues over problems with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance, and a lack of space to grow in the future.

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