Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Brainstorming the repurposing of "Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center"

Credit, LWSD
The City is losing the lease on the old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center (ORSCC) in 2018 which may displace 48,000 annual visitors; while the district will regain 40,000 square feet -- only some of it will be used for pre-school classes.   

The School district specifically states on their website that space is needed for 10 pre-school classes, a gym, and cafeteria/commons.  Storage, lockers, ramps and bathrooms designed for special needs students will also be needed. They may want a lobby, who knows what else.  

The City is dying for feedback on our community centers, in particular ORSCC.  So upon request by city staff I volunteered to dig in and help with a blog story. I was ignorant of ORSCC activities and how the building was laid out, so I toured it three times last week and studied their website:

Some of my ideas on how the City can create space for LWSD needs:    
  • Move the Parks and Recreation administrative offices to City Hall for a lobby? 
  • For the Classes:  Eliminate "weddings, auctions, memorials, dances, meetings, birthdays and small exercise classes" from the 3,174 square foot auditorium.  In anticipation of rapid Redmond Historical Society membership growth, move the society's eight, 3-hour Saturday Speaker Programs  to the higher capacity Emerald Heights or RHS "Performing Arts Center" auditoriums. Should rapid membership growth be unlikely, the 4 spacious meeting rooms downstairs might work for the pre-school classes, and the Historical Society could continue to use the auditorium.   
  • For the Gym & cafeteria/commons:  Eliminate the stand-alone exercise room. Membership at the Eastside Gym is only $18/month and it's open seven days a week at most hours.  Eliminate 8:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Jazzercise and other loud school-time activities from the gym.   
Hopefully, by creating the above space, the District will allow the City to:
  • Use the gym for weekend sports activities, weekday evening sports, 6 a.m. and 5:30 p.m Jazzercise.    
  • Temporarily keep the Redmond Historical Society office and museum in the Center and move it to the Justice White Building at a later date.     
  • Keep the "Adoptive Recreation and Inclusion" special needs members in the Center; perhaps the HERO House could accommodate the older autistic members.
  • Keep the Iqra Academy Islamic Pre-School  
  • Keep the Tasveer non-profit office (Check out their exciting Environmental Festival event scheduled for Feb. 18-19!);   .  
  • Keep the 4 (or 8) spacious upstairs rooms for District, City and Community meeting spaces. e.g. day care, cultural centers, visual & digital arts, private parties, public meetings, churches, non-profits. 
  • Keep the clay studio for elementary-aged art classes and community "throwing."  
  • Build a downstairs community cafeteria and gathering place, security office and social-needs facility.
I hope the District and City can salvage the "public works" art.

Bob, opinion

Upcoming community conversations about the Center (All meetings begin at 6:30 p.m.)
  • Tuesday, Feb. 21, Rose Hill Middle School
  • Wednesday, Feb. 22, VALA at Redmond Town Center

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