Vernonia stakes future on new school

Vernonia stakes future on new school


Mill workers with a harvested tree in the late 1920s
2007 floodwaters inundated the basement of Washington Grade School.
Third-grade drawings of the 2007 flood were funny and heartbreaking.
Vernonia school superintendent Ken Cox at the wall raising.
The new $39.3 million K-12 school is being built to achieve a LEED platinum rating for energy efficiency.

1891: Vernonia is incorporated

1922: Railroad arrives

1923: Oregon-American electric-
powered lumber mill completed

1930: Washington Grade School opens

1953: Vernonia High School opens

1957: O-A mill closes

1996: 500-year flood hits Vernonia on Feb. 8

2005: Vernonia Middle School opens

2007: second 500-year flood hits on Dec. 3


APRIL: Vernonia schools designated an
Oregon Solutions project

SEPTEMBER: high school demolished; middle/high school students move to modular classrooms


FEBRUARY: site chosen for new school

APRIL: land-use process begins on new school site; finishes in just eight months

NOVEMBER: school bond passes with more than 61% of the vote, with a 68% turnout


JANUARY/FEBRUARY: Vernonia Rural Sustainability committee launched

FEBRUARY: NW Natural makes $100,000 donation

APRIL: Oregon Dept. of Energy awards $1.1 million for green energy projects

JUNE: private campaign committee launched

AUGUST: Vernonia holds its “biggest school reunion”

DECEMBER: new school breaks ground; ODOT awards $3.8 million for transportation/access projects


JANUARY: $11.2 million FEMA award announced

JUNE: first wall is raised on new school

FALL: community fundraising begins

2012: new K-12 school is set  to open in September

Sources: City of Vernonia, Oregon Solutions, Vernonia Pioneer Museum Association's Vernonia