The year was 1995. I was 12, a seventh grader at Broadway Middle School. Like many around that age, I was struggling with friendships, academics, sports, relationships and trying to figure out who I was. My performance was poor in most areas of life that mattered, especially school.
My parents caught wind of my struggles. You can try, but you can’t keep things from them for too long. There was a plan set forth, a plan of improvement, and the standard was clear.
I didn’t meet that standard, though, and the consequence was that my parents would accompany me to school, with the hope of getting firsthand knowledge of my nonsense and slothfulness. I pleaded with them, insisting that change was imminent. My pleas were unheard.
My parents accompanied me on consecutive days. They sat with me in class, hovered awkwardly close to my friends and me (or what friends I had left after they saw them) and made sure that they fully understood my dedication to academics.
It was the most horrifyingly embarrassing incident of my adolescence and one that left an indelible mark on my commitment and accountability.
I find it ironically coincidental that my life, some 25 years later, seems professionally connected to that same property that I once learned the basics of science, history, language arts, physical education and others under the accompaniment of my parents.
It is perhaps the worst-kept secret in our community that the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District has maintained a keen interest in the Broadway Middle School, ever since the Seaside School District passed their bond in 2016.
The school is noteworthy to the park and rec district for several reasons. First, we are proud of our community partnership in our 51-year history with the city of Seaside and the school district. Our government agencies exist for the same reasons: to provide services to our residents and to improve the quality of life for those that live here.
Second, the middle school is a property that we are wholly familiar with. We use the gyms, classrooms and other spaces for current programs and the roughly 150 feet between the two buildings is traversed by park and rec district staff many times each day. The Seaside Farmers Market has found a (hopefully) permanent home in the parking lot and has attracted nearly 1,000 visitors each Wednesday this summer.
Third, the park and rec district board of directors and staff are interested in the property with the understanding that a public bond is not needed. The building isn’t free but our hope is that we can work with the partners and do what is best for the community.
This community needs more indoor recreation space now and that need will only increase as time rolls on. Our goal is to find solutions that meet that need and provide indoor recreation space at a much-reduced cost than other plans and much-reduced cost from what the cost for such a facility might be in future years.
Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, this building is a community asset. It’s served as an important facility for the development, growth and learning of young adults (like me) for the last 70 years. It’s a resource to our community because that networking and development can continue to occur there, even after the middle school students relocate.
For 51 years, you’ve entrusted the park and recreation district with managing properties that made your life better: the Sunset Pool, the Seaside Youth Center, the Bob Chisholm Community Center and Broadway Field.
We believe that we have the plan to bring this idea to reality and doing so will keep community assets in the public trust. It will provide important space for youth programs, fitness space and indoor gymnasiums. It will provide more rental space for practices and competitions that benefit our residents and the tourism community that has benefitted from shoulder-season sports tournaments and events.
Now is the time for you to learn more about this project and provide important feedback. Please visit our website at sunsetempire.com and click on “BMS Opportunity” to learn more and take an important community survey.
Skyler Archibald is executive director of the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District.