Seabeck Elementary not in the plan?

The Seabeck group that’s been leading a campaign to buy the former Seabeck Elementary School site from the Central Kitsap School District may soon have another plan altogether.

The group, Neighbors for Greater-Seabeck Community Center, met Thursday night, mostly to pore over the results of an informal survey taken at a public meeting last Saturday. That survey was intended to generate ideas for what could be done with the property if it was purchased by the group from the Central Kitsap School District.

Amid analyzing the survey, however, talk turned to what the group’s options would be if the district chooses to keep the property.

“Whether this site (the school) is right or not, we still think we should go ahead with this process,” said Joseph Coppo, one of the group’s steering committee members.

David McVicker, the school district’s director of business and operations, was on-hand at the meeting, but could offer no insight as to the district’s intentions.

A school board study session has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 18, at which McVicker and district Superintendent Greg Lynch are expected to recommend a course of action for Seabeck, as well as Tracyton Elementary School.

Until then, neighbors steering committee chair Loanna Day suggested taking a “bare bones” approach to developing a plan for a community center. In other words, a plan that would allow for flexibility in the site of a community center.

“We didn’t ask the public, ‘What would you like to see in the greater Seabeck area?’” she said.

The group does, however, plan to pose that question at another public meeting sometime in early June.

Whatever the case, the group is proceeding as if the school district’s decision on the Seabeck Elementary property won’t affect plans for a community center.

“It’s not really going to impact what we’re doing right now because what we’re doing right now is developing a concept,” Day said.

Even when the district comes to a decision on the property, a plan for moving forward could “string out” for some time afterward, McVicker noted.

If the district decides to sell the property, the group would simply have to move quickly to find a way to buy it up. If the district keeps the property, however, more decisions — such as whether to rent, lease, or “mothball” it — would have to be made.

Whatever the case, it should be a fairly active and interesting summer for the group and for the district, which also is in the process of trying to finalize a budget for the 2008-09 school year.

As for Saturday’s survey, which was generated with the Seabeck Elementary site specifically in mind, results were pretty scattered, but some preferences emerged. Ideas for the site were split into five categories: agencies and services, education, tenant uses, recreation and miscellaneous purposes.

The top vote-getters for those categories were

• Agencies and services: 12 of 35 people favored a regional library.

• Education: 9 people of 46 voted for the building to host art classes.

• Tenant: 11 of 30 voted for a café or restaurant.

• Recreation: 24 of 29 voted for some form of activity classes.

• Miscellaneous: 6 of 21 voted for a nature center.

Still, under an “other comments” section where extraneous comments from the public were recorded, a couple people favored simply bringing Seabeck Elementary back to its former glory.

“They want Seabeck back and they really consider the school to be the heart of Seabeck,” Coppo said.

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