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Madrone charter school weighs eco-friendly additions

The Madrone Trail Public Charter School is considering eco-friendly expansion options as it moves forward with plans for three new campus classrooms.

The school's board of directors studied construction options last week, including manufactured portable buildings, steel-core structures and eco-friendly classrooms with straw walls and green roofs.

As the school continues to expand by one grade each year, additional space is needed for the influx of new students, said the school's director, Joe Frodsham. "We're stuffed right now and we're out of space."

The school purchased and moved into the old West Side School building outside of Jacksonville last fall, and with another class of students joining them this year, Frodsham said they've reached capacity. "We are using everything as a classroom right now," said Frodsham. "We have just enough spaces."

Frodsham said the school has expanded from a K-2 school to a K-6 school since it was formed in 2007, and they plan to continue growing until the school goes through eighth grade.

Under the Waldorf school model, once students reach the first grade, their teacher stays with the same class year after year. As the school's oldest class moves ahead, new students in the lower grades drive enrollment up.

Frodsham said the school is looking to add three classrooms to the campus for a K-8 school to fit comfortably.

Once the board studies the options and projected costs of new construction, they will kick off a fundraising campaign, relying on parent donations, grants and other public funds. "We have to raise all the funding ourselves," said Frodsham. "We will be looking for support."

It would be ideal for the new classrooms to be ready for the 2012-13 school year, said Frodsham, adding that the need for new classrooms is evidence of a successful school, something he attributes to a strong charter-school movement. "Our growth demonstrates the potential for other charter schools," Frodsham said.

Reach reporter Teresa Ristow at 541-776-4459 or tristow@mailtribune.com.