Seabeck neighbors weigh community center options

Neighbors for a Greater Seabeck Community Center gathered June 18 in the town’s vacant elementary gymnasium to discuss the direction and possibilities of building a community center.

The group, created after the closure of Seabeck Elementary School, has hosted multiple community forums and hopes to turn the proposition of a Seabeck community center into reality.

Talks June 18 focused on the community’s options, range of needs and where to potentially build a community center.

Community member Jospeh Coppo outlined possible locations to build, focusing on a piece of property owned by the Central Kitsap School District, where the closed Seabeck Elementary stands.

CKSD has not officially decided whether to retain or surplus the residentially zoned property — about 15 acres worth — and no announcement will be made until Aug. 13 at the earliest.

If the district did surplus, Seabeck could purchase the property and build or renovate accordingly. Other options, Coppo said, include purchasing property elsewhere or taking no action and working with existing public land.

“What’s important is what type of site we want,” he said.

While potential project sites remain in limbo, Coppo has drafted three building options on the CKSD property, in case the land becomes available for purchase, to address the big question: What do the citizens of Seabeck want?

Coppo’s drafts consider the town’s primary range of needs and uses — outdoor recreation, meeting space, community gathering space, an environmental education center and a connection to Silverdale.

The first option — an “outdoor recreation alternative” — would maximize recreation usage and expand parking. Coppo’s outline included two baseball fields, a soccer field and a 60- to 70-stall parking lot. The “really, really rough” costs for that plan, Coppo said, range from $1.1 million to $1.5 million.

The second option combines a small meeting space with outdoor facilities to create a “flexible” area. Under that alternative, Coppo’s draft shows, the current gym would either be remodeled or rebuilt entirely to suit the community’s needs. The plan, estimated to cost anywhere from $300,000 to $800,000, includes a baseball field, soccer field, basketball court and play area as well as two smaller parking lots and a covered shelter. All other existing buildings would be removed.

Coppo’s third draft, a “large community center” alternative, would include two 60- to 70-stall parking lots, a 10,000-square-foot commercial space, a 20,000-square-foot community center, a play area, soccer field and a park and ride with public transportation to Silverdale. By far the priciest, Coppo estimated the costs to run between $3.25 million and $3.35 million.

“There’s no money identified for the project,” he explained. “Once we have a better idea of where we’re going, we’ll be able to whittle it down to what we can afford.”

The Port of Bremerton has expressed support for a project and as allowed by state law, could invest in economic development, tourism and to some extent, parks and recreation.

“We need to come to them (the Port) with some message of what we want as a community,” Coppo said.

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