Plumas Charter School has identified three downtown Quincy properties as suitable temporary locations for its PCS Quincy Learning Center students and programs while a permanent new school site is being developed.
The school has applied to the county for special use permits on 80 Main St., the former DMV building beside the CHP office; 535 Lawrence St., which currently houses Mountain Mattress; and one of the buildings at 546 Lawrence St. in the Theater Square building.
On Feb. 14, at 10 a.m., the Plumas County Zoning Administrator will hold a public hearing on two of the locations: 80 Main St. and 535 Lawrence St. The hearing will be held in the conference room of the Plumas County Permit Center, 555 Main St. in Quincy.
The county anticipates holding a public hearing for the 546 Lawrence Street special use permit in March. Planning officials indicated that approvals for the permits typically consider issues such as accessibility and code compliance, among other items.
“Much conversation has been had with all county departments regarding our uses of these facilities and we believe we have mitigated all concerns,” PCS Executive Director Taletha Washburn said. “We are anticipating a positive outcome for each of these permits.”
She added that the permit process addresses all concerns for safety surrounding student pick up and drop off.
“We are confident that all three sites provide a high level of safety and ease for parents and students,” Washburn said.
The PCS lease for its Pioneer School campus on North Mill Creek Road ends June 30. The charter school’s administrators are working to lease the new locations beginning in May, to allow time for the move, and anticipate opening the 2018-19 school year at these locations.
Plans call for kindergarten through second-grade students to be housed at the 535 Lawrence St. location, which provides a 1,584-square-foot building on 0.31 acres.
Third- through sixth-graders would have classes at the 2,573-square-foot facility co-located at 546 Lawrence St.
Middle and high school students would be located at 80 Main St., which offers 2,300 square feet on the ground floor and 1,100 square feet on the second story on 0.30 acres. The PCS business office is also planned to be located at this facility.
Site Director Patrick Joseph, Washburn and the PCS special education staff will work back and forth between the 80 Main and 546 Lawrence locations to serve students on site.
Asked about the value of having downtown locations for the PCS Quincy Learning Center, Washburn expressed confidence in the move.
“Relocating our program to the downtown area is the opportunity to take advantage of many offerings such as Dame Shirley Plaza, the museum, West End Theatre, the bike path, Town Hall Theatre, Gansner Park and the Feather River College gym, just to name a few,” she said. “The ability to plan walking field trips will be limited only by weather. We are also hoping to convey with our move that it is the quality of our programs and staff that make our programs great, not the location in which we offer them.”
The charter school anticipates using the new facility locations for the 2018-19 school year “at a minimum,” the executive director said, “with the hope that our new facility at 129 Kelsey Lane will be ready in the summer of 2019.”
She added that the 80 Main and 546 Lawrence spots “will require very little in the way of modifications.”
The school plans some bathroom remodeling for 535 Lawrence St., plus some minor modifications such as fencing and safety barriers in the back yard.
Parent surveys are also in development to help guide the PCS planning process and its final Quincy program decisions for the next school year.
“This is an exciting time for Plumas Charter School, being our 20th anniversary as a charter school, and beginning the next phase in the evolution of our programs,” Washburn said.
She added, “We have come a long way from our beginnings as a home school/traditional independent study school to the prospect of securing a permanent home for our diverse Quincy Learning Center programs and services. Plans are moving steadily forward through the financing stage, permits and surveys are well underway and many have already been completed.”
Washburn confirmed initial design plans are being refined as they go and will be shared with the community in the near future.