With schools on the sales block, local cities and special districts are among those that may be eyeing the properties.
At $3.6 million, Broadway Middle School may seem like a deal for the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District, desperately in need of gyms and classrooms, after a bond plan closer to $20 million was defeated last spring.
And in Gearhart, the city is taking a hard look at the Gearhart Elementary School property, marketed by real estate agency Norris & Stevens at an asking price of $1.9 million.
At the city’s Sept. 12 Planning Commission meeting, City Administrator Chad Sweet said, the city is “not sure” what to do with the property if a purchase was pursued. “There’s a lot of interest in park space, but $2 million for park space — it would be expensive.”
According to Gearhart zoning code, the property could be used as a public or government facility, or rezoned for residential development.
The building is almost 32,000 square feet, sitting on 8.44 acres, and includes a main school with gymnasium, cafeteria; four modular buildings and covered outdoor basketball courts. No commercial rezoning at the property would be allowed.
“After talking to their representative, in our estimation that school would be quite expensive to tear down,” Sweet said. “We would have this space, but we’re not sure what we would do with it.”
Broadway Middle School, at about 73,000 square feet on 3 acres, is zoned partially residential and partially commercial. The school comes with two gyms, a cafeteria and kitchen, along with the one-story school building.
At a Sept. 3 work session, members of the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District Board of Directors considered the possibility of pursuing a purchase of all or part of the property.
The district is picking up a discussion after voters rejected a $20 million bond proposal to expand the rec center failed at the polls in November, with almost two-thirds of the voters opposing the measure.
Board members considered factors like timing, building costs and unanswered questions in the bond’s lack of success.
The bond would have funded the expansion of the aquatic facility and provided indoor recreation space at the Sunset Pool.
After the meeting, the district’s executive director Skyler Archibald said he is looking for potential developers to collaborate with on the purchase of the school property as there may be commercial interests in the highway frontage.
“It’s possible that the right developer would not have need for some of the recreation space that is already available, but a collaboration could be mutually beneficial,” Archibald said.