Private school project starts soon in Spokane, Wash.

Spokane Junior Academy soon will start building a $6.6 million facility in northwest Spokane, says the principal of the private school.

The school, which is operated by the Spokane-based Upper Columbia Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, has obtained a building permit from Spokane County and is acting as its own contractor on the project, which is planned at 1115 N. Government Way, says Brian Harris, principal of the school.

The new school will be located on a 39-acre site that is owned by the church-affiliated Upper Columbia Corp. and is directly across Government Way from Life Center Foursquare Church.

School officials hope the project will be completed in time to move into the new facility for the start of the 2008-2009 school year.

At one time, construction of the long-envisioned school was expected to start in 2005, but was postponed while organizers continued to raise funds for the project and sought to obtain water and sewer services from the city of Spokane, says Art Lenz, building chairman for Spokane junior Academy.

The project site, which is just outside of the city limits, had to be included in the city of Spokane's urban-growth boundaries before the city could provide service, Lenz says.

The school will be constructed in two phases. The first phase will include about 30,000 square feet of floor space, Lenz says.

It will have 14 classrooms on two levels and a capacity of about 300 students. The first phase also will include office space, a science lab, a main entry, and a day care.

The second phase, which will include 25,000 square feet of floor space, will have a gym, music and choir facilities, and a cafeteria; he says.

The school currently is leasing space at 1888 N. Wright Drive, where it has nine classrooms with 124 students enrolled in kindergarten through 10th grade and 14 younger children enrolled in its Christian Playcare Center.

"We're maxed out now, and we had to turn away some students," Harris says.