A decade after running low on students and closing the doors, the Oregon Conference of Seventh-day Adventists sold the former Pleasant View Adventist School as part of a sound barrier around Camp Rilea Armed Forces Training Center.
The state Military Department is retrofitting the former schoolhouse into the third statewide campus of Starbase, a U.S. Department of Defense-funded youth science and technology academy.
“We’d been seeking that property for a while as a buffer for Camp Rilea, for at least 10 to 15 years,” said retired Col. Todd Farmer, a training site manager at Camp Rilea.
The state paid more than $400,000 to buy the schoolhouse and surrounding 12 acres of field, wedged between the eastern edge of Camp Rilea and the Fort to Sea Trail on the Clatsop Plains. The Seventh-day Adventists had acquired the property and opened a school in 1980 halfway between churches in Astoria and Seaside, taking in students from the first through eighth grades.
Greg Kabanuk put several of his children through the school, served as a board member and still lives in an apartment of the schoolhouse as a caretaker. Kabanuk has resigned himself to the sale, which he said was decided by the church’s regional leaders in Gladstone and is still a sore spot for locals.
“It was not our decision,” he said. “We did not support the decision. The local population wanted to reopen it as a school.”
The state military’s purchase of the campus lined up with an expansion of Starbase, short for Science and Technology Academies Reinforcing Basic Aviation and Space Exploration. The program started in 1991 through a grant from the Kellogg Foundation and was later included in federal appropriations. There are fewer than 70 Starbase campuses nationwide, including two at airbases in Portland and Klamath Falls.