Overhead view

Sunset Recreation Center and property.

The Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District is still “getting its feet wet” in programming at the Sunset Recreation Center, board member Michael Hinton said last Tuesday.

The park district purchased the former Broadway Middle School for $2.15 million in January. The school, along with Gearhart Elementary and Seaside High School, was among Seaside School District properties relocated to the new Spruce Drive location outside of the tsunami inundation zone.

The team that will help set the Sunset Recreation Center’s course convened over the summer with the goal to establish a clear vision and key objectives for the project. Sports Facilities Advisory and Scott Edwards Architecture, a Portland-based architectural firm, were chosen based on firm size and structure, project understanding, firm experience, work plan, proposed staff and fee proposal. That report is expected in three to four weeks, park district executive director Skyler Archibald said.

At the board meeting, board member Celeste Bodner suggested a study to determine which programs at the center best align with the district’s goals. “I would propose that staff actually develop some sort of proposal matrix of what straight rental space would run versus a hosted or sponsored program space.”

Since the purchase, the park district has hosted the Pacific Basketball League, child care programs and leased a portion of the space to the Northwest Regional Education Service District, which moved in early August.

The district rents space to Seaside Rotary for their weekly meetings, although they haven’t been meeting in person, Archibald said. “We are also leasing the locker rooms to the Seaside School District for their fall sports team usage.”

Clatsop County 4-H, which seeks rental space in the center, is one among several organizations seeking classroom, gym and office space, Archibald said.

Drop-in basketball will return in the mornings from 6 to 7 a.m., he said, and the center will host four hours of pickleball activity in one gym. Pickleball play is expected to expand to a second gym, he said.

The district has received grants from the state and the Oregon Community Foundation for child care programs and summer camp improvements, including replacement of the refrigerator-freezer, equipment for the youth programs, technology improvements and paint for a small portion the interior. “We still have some funds to spend and we have till the end of the year,” he said.

About 200 people came out to the center for surplus items, including desks and school supplies left behind by the school district. The sale of 164 items brought in almost $1,500, which will go into the district’s scholarship fund.

A second sale could follow. “One thing that we heard, as far as feedback was that people were really interested in lockers,” Archibald said. “As we figure out how to pack attach the lockers and get them out of the building, I think that will be a popular item.”

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