The Old Redmond Schoolhouse has been used as a community center for around two decades. Aaron Kunkler/Redmond Reporter

Redmond community center moving out of Old Redmond Schoolhouse next year

Community center activities at the Old Redmond Schoolhouse will be phased out of the facility beginning Jan. 1, 2018 and will be completely relocated by the end of next March.

The schoolhouse, which was built in 1922, was leased by the City of Redmond in 1997 to become a community center. It has hosted a wide array of activities and groups over the years and has a kitchen and sports facilities.

City Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation Rachel Van Winkle said the city’s lease is expiring in June 2018, and that the Lake Washington School District (LWSD), which owns the building, will be remodeling it for use as a preschool facility.

“We’re trying to see what that space is going to look like,” she said.

Access to the basketball courts will likely be retained, but with 10 new classrooms for preschoolers, there may not be much space at the schoolhouse for other community events.

Van Winkle said the city hopes to hash out a new inter-local agreement that would allow the city to continue to use the basketball courts and gym of the schoolhouse.

Because of this, the city set up a task force that made recommendations to the city council as to how to proceed. It is also looking at permanent solutions for a community center.

In the short term, the many activities will be moving to either the Old Fire House Teen Center, the senior center or a recently leased Lake Washington Institute of Technology building adjacent to Marymoor Park.

Through this process, Van Winkle said their biggest concern is maintaining their current level of service for residents.

“Our goal was to be able to absorb them either in this building or the teen center or the senior center,” Van Winkle said.

The new, temporary community center at the Institute of Technology building is 20,000 square feet, around half the size of the schoolhouse.

The city signed a two-year lease earlier this year and will pay $450,000 in rent annually.

The city only paid around $1,000 annually at the old schoolhouse, but also spent $4 million upgrading the facility.

The new community center location has a non-commercial kitchen, multiple rooms ranging in size from small to large, a lecture hall and a lobby.

It’s also located right next to Marymoor Park, and its wide-open green space is readily seen through the building’s windows.

“The building, I would say, has a great synergy with the park,” Van Winkle said.

The teen center, which similarly is absorbing some of the old schoolhouse’s activities, has begun opening at 9 a.m. instead of in the afternoon to facilitate more activities.

Barbara Posthumus, with the LWSD, said that the remodeling of the schoolhouse was part of the long-term facility planning approved with the 2016 bond measures.

The district is still in the design phase, but hopes to have the new schoolhouse, which will serve as a preschool, finished by fall 2019.

“It is space that we have available, we are a growing district and we are needing to build new facilities for space and this was a facility that we already owned,” Posthumus said.

While it is early in the process, renovations could include remodeling the interior and updating the HVAC and water systems.

The estimated cost of the project is around $7.8 million for the district.

Even though it’s changing functions, the Old Redmond Schoolhouse will still remain a part of the Redmond community.

When it was built, it had 12 rooms and served grades 1 through 12 for years. During the early years, like today, it had a focus on community activities, according to the Redmond Historical Society.

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