The Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District will bid on the $2.9 million Broadway Middle School property.
The potential purchase aims to improve community health and wellness, child care and recreational activity.
Katharine Parker, the recreation district’s board president, described it as a “key landmark piece of property in the heart of our community.”
In a unanimous vote, the board authorized Skyler Archibald, the district’s executive director, to work with a real estate agent and deliver an offer discussed in executive session to the Seaside School District.
“The board recognizes the need to preserve public land in the public trust and to maintain indoor recreation space for our community and our youth,” the motion stated.
The middle school, located off of U.S. Highway 101 and Broadway, is among the school properties relocating this fall to a new Spruce Drive location outside of the tsunami inundation zone. Of the 5.4-acre property, 3 acres are zoned residential and 2.4 acres are zoned for commercial use. The 73,000-square-foot building includes the main school with two gyms, cafeteria and kitchen.
Separately on Tuesday, the Seaside School District board of directors approved a motion to negotiate and execute a property offer from Bashu Ventures LLC at the middle school.
“We have an offer on the middle school and the board approved the authorization of negotiations,” Superintendent Susan Penrod confirmed. Bidding remains open until the school district accepts an offer.
A business plan by the recreation district presented last November, when the school was listed at $3.6 million, estimated the purchase and renovation of the building to be just under $6 million.
In June, the board rejected pursuit of the project, citing potential remediation costs, rejection of a 2018 expansion bond and a weak economy.
A change in board members brought a new interest in the potential buy.
Correspondence from Kerry Januik, of the Pacific Basketball League, which rents gym space at the middle school, said she had “high hopes” the park district could acquire the property for continued community use.
While no potential partners were suggested, Seaside leases parts of the middle school property housing the Visitors Bureau, Seaside Chamber of Commerce and public restrooms.
“The board is committed to performing due diligence in inspection, finance options and fiscal planning, and is dedicated to transparency and strengthened communications with the community throughout the process,” Parker said.
Archibald said the potential for sale of the school prompted the board’s decision.
“I think we are really mindful of the opportunity, recognizing that the school district may be receiving an offer on the property and we don’t want to let the opportunity to slip away,” he said. “If we don’t take advantage of it, it will be really hard for us to have more indoor recreation space in our community’s future at this kind of price.”