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Covenant Christian cleared to move to Frankton School

The Frankton School building was built in 1941 and last saw use as a home for educational development programs.

The Frankton School building was built in 1941 and last saw use as a home for educational development programs. Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea.

Christian Covenant Church in Hood River will be getting a new home and a former school will be getting a new life.

The Hood River County Commission last week approved a zone change request for the Frankton School building which will allow the Hood River County School District to sell the building to the church.

Covenant Christian is currently located on Riverside Drive near the Hood River waterfront.

The church put in an offer to the school district for the property last spring, contingent on the rezoning of the school from open space/public facilities to urban low-density residential. In order for the building to be used as a permanent home for the church, the property required a rezone.

School District Finance Director Nick Hogan said that the building, while in good physical shape, did not pencil out economically to be used as a school again.

“Structurally, it’s fine,” Hogan said of the building built in 1941.

However he said that at 11,000 square feet on two floors, the building was not big enough to run as a school, and that the costs would not pencil out when it came to hiring the staff and running the building.

The building was last used by the district two years ago for development programs which have since moved to the former Pine Grove School.

Hogan said proceeds from the sale will be set aside in a fund devoted to capital improvements.

The church’s offer was the best of three the district received.

Among the requirements set out by the county for the church to take over the building are the construction of a travel lane, bike lane, curb and sidewalk along the building’s frontage to Frankton Road.

The county approval will also allow limited occupation of the building by church staff before the church completely moves into the building.

Until recently the property included a playground which was accessible to the public. It also includes a publicly accessible playfield.

Plans by the church call for the elimination of the playfield, which is to be turned into a parking lot.

However, according to the county’s “findings of fact and conclusions of law” document regarding the rezoning, the church would then build a new playground and 1,300-square-foot covered “sport court” which would be accessible to the surrounding neighborhood for “the foreseeable future.”

The church also told the county it would maintain 42 percent of the property as “open space,” more than double the amount of required open space for the new zoning.

Hogan said he expects the sale to close in early April as the church is currently finalizing its loan to purchase the property and preparing inspections of the building.

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