The Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District and the Northwest Regional Education Service District are in talks to lease a portion of the Sunset Recreation Center in Seaside.
The former Broadway Middle School would be “the ideal hub for our services,” wrote Dan Goldman, superintendent of the Northwest Regional Education Service District.
The service district is in the process of selling their 29,000-square-foot Clatsop Service Center location in Astoria and are seeking a space to lease, Goldman said. They hope to downside to a 7,600-square-foot space in the Sunset Recreation Center.
“It would be a significant downsize, but it’s what we need now,” Goldman said at last Tuesday’s park district board meeting. “We’re looking to actually get in a space that not only is a better fit for us in terms of size, but also provides us an opportunity to do what ESD does best.”
The service district is seeking classroom space for preschool programs, community meetings and office space.
The service district brings additional school resources to students and school districts in Clatsop, Tillamook, Washington and Columbia counties. “We provide what you would consider a co-op of services across school districts,” Goldman said.
In Clatsop County, this includes technology and administrative support to school districts, early learning, migrant education, child care and special education.
“I am struck by the alignment in our organizations’ visions,” Goldman wrote to the park district in a March letter. “We lead our community toward a healthy, active lifestyle and foster a sense of community through inclusive, sustainable, educational and recreational programs. ... The colocation of our services will undoubtedly multiply our respective capacities to serve Clatsop County children and families.”
Areas of interest to the service district at the former middle school include three classrooms along the southwest corner of the building, the computer lab adjacent to the library, administrative office space and a counseling room.
These spaces would be used to provide programs and services to children and families in the community. “We shift resources to where there is the greatest need,” Goldman said.
The lease would likely include installation of temporary doors and walls to secure their part of the property. Bathrooms in the west hallway could be shared.
The service district will be leaving their Astoria location at the end of June. “On the short-term side, we would, we would really like to execute something quickly,” Goldman said.
If a deal doesn’t come together immediately, the service district is “prepared to be remote for a little while,” he added.
“We really like this option for the reasons I stated,” Goldman said. “But if the park district felt like it couldn’t move forward, we’ll be OK.”
Board member Su Coddington viewed the proposal positively. “What an opportunity in having purchased this building, to have opportunities like this,” she said. “I am grateful to them for being interested.”
Board member Michael Hinton said he would enjoy working with the service district. “I think they would be a healthy partner for us,” he said. “I would like, at an appropriate time, to have Skyler (Archibald, park district executive director) begin some kind of negotiation so we can define the lease.”