PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles School District is considering making the unused space at Lincoln Center available to community agencies.
It would be for those agencies that have goals similar to the school district’s mission, said Superintendent Martin Brewer.
That idea, called “Partners in Education” is part of a larger facilities proposal that would include the support staff from the Central Services Building relocating to the Lincoln Center and then renting the extra space.
“I’ve heard from a number of community agencies looking for cost-effective square footage,” Brewer said.
“It would be exciting to have partners come in and work on some of the key concepts that guide our work in the Port Angeles School District.”
The city of Port Angeles and Clallam County have shown interest in moving the county’s Emergency Operations Center out of the courthouse basement and into the Lincoln Center, but those discussions have ended, Brewer said.
Brewer said Monday that moving the EOC to the Lincoln Center does not fit with the school district’s needs and mission.
“We have a responsibility to follow the vision and mission of the district for best utilization of our facilities,” he said.
Brewer said the School Board has not made any decision and at this point it’s just an idea, but he plans to make the proposal during the May 23 board meeting.
Brewer initially presented a facilities plan to the board in February, suggesting the district could move staff from the Central Services Building on Fourth Street to the Lincoln Center, and then sell the Central Services Building.
Other parts of the plan call for developing sports fields at the former Monroe Elementary school, removing the Donahue House, pursuing a long-term lease for the former Fairview Elementary School and declaring unused and under-used property as surplus.
Brewer has been receiving feedback from staff and the community and will incorporate that feedback into the May 23 presentation, he said.
Several local organizations have shown interest in the space at the Lincoln Center, Brewer said.
Among them is the Washington State University Extension Office, which Brewer said has shown interest in the commercial kitchen that once housed the North Olympic Skills Center’s culinary arts program.
“They have interest in obtaining some of the space for nutritional type classes and even more exciting would be the utilization of the kitchen to work with families,” Brewer said. “I thought ‘what a great partnership this might be.’ ”
He said others that have shown interest include United Way of Clallam County, the Port Angeles Education Foundation and the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra.
If Central Services staff move to the Lincoln Center, thousands of square feet would be available. He said support staff currently use about 9,000 square feet while the Lincoln Center has 29,000 square feet of space.
“This is just an idea,” Brewer said. “I’m trying to generate more and more interest in this concept.”
He said he believes there could be a decision on whether the district should move staff to the Lincoln Center and rent the extra space sometime this summer.
If that happens there would likely be a request for proposals so the district could fill extra space.
Caring for Kids
Currently housed at the Lincoln Center are AmeriCorps, Port Angeles School District (PASD) Teaching and Learning staff, Parents as Partners, Educational Service District No. 114, Caring for Kids, Peninsula College and the Clallam County Economic Development Corporation.
Caring for Kids is an example of the type of organization the district is looking for, according to a press release.
The nonprofit is operated by PASD parents Jessica Johnson and Jen Riffle and maintains clothing items for children kindergarten through high school ages.
Donations of gently used and new clothing are accepted at all PASD buildings and keep the inventory renewed.
“We wanted to find a project that would help the kids in our community,” Johnson said in a statement.
They began on an on-call basis. Now they open the closet each Tuesday and Wednesday from noon to 4 p.m.
“We’ve had great feedback,” Riffle said. “A couple of moms this week were on the verge of tears when they came in.
“They told us what an amazing resource this is. One mom recently in with five children to provide for — one biological child and four foster children — told us how life-changing it was for her to find us.”
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].